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Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

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Spain:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Vocational Lower Secondary Education: Basic Vocational Training cycles

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Spain:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

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Spain:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

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Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Management and Other Education Staff

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Spain:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Spain:Management Staff for Higher Education

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Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Quality Assurance

Spain:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Educational Support and Guidance

Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Spain:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Spain:Mobility and Internationalisation

Spain:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

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Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

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Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Spain:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:National Reforms in School Education

Spain:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

Spain:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Spain:European Perspective

Spain:Legislation

Spain:Institutions

Spain:Bibliography

Spain:Glossary

Definition of the Target Group(s)

According to the model of attention to diversity provided by the Spanish Education System, the measures for meeting the education needs in ordinary schools can be both ordinary or extraordinary. Therefore, when the target groups are defined, not only the total number of students attending the school is taken into account, but also those ones with specific needs for educational support. For detailed information on the model of attention to diversity see article  Educational Support and Guidance.

According to the 2006 Education Act, modified by the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, students with the specific need of educational support show:

  • Special education needs related to physical, psychic or sensory disability, or serious conduct disorder.  
  • Specific learning difficulties.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • High intellectual capacities.
  • Needs resulting from a late entry into the education system.

Specific Support Measures

In line with the guidelines established by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, the Autonomous Education Authorities prepare Plans on Attention to Diversity. Their purpose is to implement education measures and actions allowing the maximum adaptation of the teaching-learning processes to the whole students' characteristics. These plans include both ordinary and extraordinary measures.

Depending on their autonomy for establishing their organisation and running, schools adapt these guidelines to students' needs and to the characteristics of their schools environment, preparing their own Plans on Attention to Diversity.

Attention to diversity ordinary measures

Ordinary measures have an impact on the general organisation of the school, such as:

  • The organisation of the students groups.
  • The strategies favoring universal accessibility and allowing active and complete students' participation in learning (access to spaces, curriculum and resources, host activities, promotion of actions aimed at students socialisation and diversity appreciation, organisation of support and supporting activities, absenteeism and early school dropout prevention).
  • Tutor and guidance action.
  • The use of spaces.
  • The coordination and teamwork between the different professionals and collaborators at school and in the classrooms. 
  • The participation of external stakeholders in social and educational actions.
  • The guidance, training and family mediation actions favouring families rapprochement to schools, making possible families implication in their children's education process and, if necessary, their integration in the social context.

These measures also include the prevention and detection of learning difficulties, among which the following stand out:

  • The implementation of reinforcement and support mechanisms.
  • The individualised attention.
  • The adaptation to the different learning rhythms.
  • The support in the classroom, groups splitting and flexible grouping.
  • The selection and implementation of different resources and methodological strategies.
  • Non meaningful curricular adaptations.
  • Curricular material adaptation.
  • The activities for evaluating learning adapted to students.
  • The optional studies expected for Lower Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO). For detailed information on the optional studies for ESO see article Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education.

Attention to diversity extraordinary measures

Extraordinary measures are aimed at meeting the most specific education needs of students, and they complement those with an ordinary nature. They are aimed at those students with more learning difficulties than the others due to different reasons. That is why they need an education attention different to the ordinary one and the establishment of specific resources. The implementation of these measures requires a previous diagnose of the students education needs, through the psycho-pedagogic evaluation made by the guidance specialised services. Also, a continuous monitoring is necessary for adapting the decisions taken and allowing the greatest access of these students to the curriculum and the ordinary education.

These extraordinary measures are only applied in compulsory education (students from 6-16 years old).

Main extraordinary measures for treating diversity in compulsory education

Measure
Characteristics
Meaningful curricular adaptations
  • In order to adapt the ordinary curriculum to the most specific needs of students, the essential aspects are modified: objectives, contents and evaluation criteria.
Curricular diversification programmes
  • They are aimed at students of 3rd and 4th year of ESO. The access is also possible for students having studied 2nd year of ESO but who are not in a position to progress to 3rd year and who have repeated a school year in this level.
  • Their purpose is the students to reach the general objectives of the level and obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate.
  • The teaching of these programmes is organised in two specific fields: one with a scientific and technological nature, and another one with a social and linguistic nature. It is also possible to establish a practical field.  The didactic methodology has holistic approaches which allows the adaptation to the students' needs.
Basic vocational training
  • The implementation of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education in the 2014/15 academic year involved the establishment of the new basic vocational training cycles. In order to have access to them, students must be between 15 and 17 years of age and have completed the first cycle of compulsory secondary education or, exceptionally, the 2nd year of compulsory secondary education.
  • The implementation of the 1st year of this new type of provision during the abovementioned academic year meant that the compulsory modules of Initial Vocational Qualification Programmes developed by the Education Act ceased to be offered.
  • For detailed information on basic vocational training, see article Vocational lower secondary education: Basic vocational training cycles.
Programmes to improve learning and performance
  • These programmes are primarily aimed at students with relevant learning difficulties for reasons other than lack of study or effort and are developed from the 2nd year of compulsory secondary education.
  • They are aimed at students who have repeated at least a year at any stage, students who have completed the 1st year of compulsory secondary education but are not ready for progression to the 2nd year, or students who have completed the 2nd year but are not ready to progress to the 3rd year.
  • A specific methodology is used: content organisation, practical activities and, if appropriate, subjects that are different from the ones generally established. The aim is that students may take the 4th year through the ordinary procedure and obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate.
  • They can be organised in an integrated way, or through subjects different from the ones generally established, in at least three specific fields: linguistic and social, scientific and mathematical and foreign languages.
Making the stay in the education level more flexible
  • This measure is specific for each profile of the students with specific needs for educational support.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-REDIE from the regulations in force.

The ordinary and extraordinary measures previously described adapt to every target group as explained bellow:

Students with special education needs associated to disability or serious conduct disorder

The answer given to these students consists of providing them with the necessary support for following their studies. In many cases these students require to adapt the curricular elements to their needs and/or to have an easier access to the contents through technical assistance.

Measures for students with special educational needs related to disability or severe conduct disorder

Measure Characteristics
Meaningful curricular adaptations
  • In order to adapt the ordinary curriculum to the students' needs, the essential aspects are modified: objectives, contents and evaluation criteria. 
  • Support teachers in the educational institutions, School teachers with the specialities of Therapeutic Pedagogy or Hearing and Speech, strength the work of the teachers in charge. For detailed information on these teachers, see articles of chapter Teachers and Education Staff referred to Pre-Primary, Primary and Secondary Education.
Significant curricular modification
  • It allows changes or resources forecasts, both personal and material, so that those students with some access difficulties will be able to study the ordinary curriculum. They are based on technical assistance, alternative and augmentative communication systems or the removal of architectural obstacles.  
Classrooms for Special Education in mainstream education
  • They are group programmes aimed at students with serious physical, psychological or sensory disabilities, or serious personality or conduct disorders. Very significant adaptations required are carried out in a specific classroom within the ordinary school, but they are compatible with their participation in some ordinary extracurricular activities, which favor their social adaptation and integration.
Reduction in the number of students per classroom
  • When in a classroom there are students with special education needs, the number of students in the said classroom is reduced.  
Support by specialised teachers
  • This support is possible within or without the classroom, individually or in small groups, depending on the students needs and on the curricular adaptation made.
Making the stay in the education level more flexible 
  • Students with special education needs can stay in the education level one year or more that the expected for the other students, both in Primary Education and Lower Compulsory Secondary Education.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-REDIE from the regulations in force.

Students with learning difficulties

According to the DSM IV-TR1, the most common learning difficulties are those related to oral language, reading, writing and calculus. Generally, the most common measures for attending this kind of students are those related to diversified materials and education resources, supporting groups, insignificant curricular modification and methodological strategies.

1AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION (APA). (2002). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. Barcelona: Masson.

Highly gifted students

Generally, the Spanish Education Systems offers as an answer for these students the possibility to make the stay in the education level more flexible, anticipating schooling or reducing its length. Also, some adaptations for curricular widening and enriching are carried out, whose final goal is harmoniously developing these students' abilities.

Students entering late the education system

The education authorities have to support the entry into the education system of the students that come from other countries or, for any other reason, are incorporated late in the Spanish education system. Plans and programmes are designed and measures are developed which must ensure that the education of these students is made in response to their circumstances, knowledge, age and educational background, so they can enter in the most appropriate course according to their characteristics and prior knowledge.

In general, the measures offered by the education system for these students are integrated into specific programmes aimed at meeting the linguistic deficiencies, key competences or knowledge, and should be simultaneous to the education of students in mainstream schools. In addition, the education system takes the necessary steps so parents or guardians of these students receive the necessary advice and students achieve full acceptance in the school.

Programmes and plans include:

  • Hosting programmes and plans. Aimed both at students of foreign origin and all late students joining the education system. These include measures to prepare the school for the arrival of new students, such as the inclusion of the values ​​of intercultural education in the school development plan, teacher training, adjusting center resources or preparation of information documents in multiple languages. They address, therefore, linguistic, curricular, attitudinal and school context aspects.
  • Programmes and plans for teaching the language of the host society. It includes measures of two types: On one hand, language classrooms, which aim to provide students with the necessary linguistic competence to enter the mainstream classroom. Their stay is flexible, meeting their needs, so the student does not attend there the whole day. On the other, linguistic and curricular reinforcement actions, which facilitate the study in all areas or subjects of the course with fewer difficulties.
  • Programmes for teaching the language and culture of the country of origin. These programmes are targeted to students from other countries to continue studying their native language, while studying the host language. It is sometimes done in collaboration with the country of origin and with public non-profit organizations. Usually the courses are developed outside school hours, although in some Autonomous Communities initiatives are being considered for including these contents in the curriculum. In addition, some communities encourage all students, not just the immigrant, to attend them.

As for the measures, the main ones are:

  • Information for immigrant families on the Spanish Education System in several languages, aimed at both students and families. In this way, they are also informed about their rights, duties and opportunities, not only relating to education but also to other environmental resources that could be of use.
  • Support services for intercultural mediation, and translating and interpreting services. These are often external services. Their working and approach depend on regional and local resources, and on the needs of schools.
  • Measures supporting the teaching function, through the inclusion of other professional profiles as a support inside and/or outside the classroom, specific training and resources related to interculturality and work with foreign students. 
  • Making stay at the educational level more flexible. Students who incorporate late to the Education System and present a gap of more than 2 courses in their level of curricular competence may be enrolled in a course prior to which would correspond to them by age.
  • Reduction of groups' size in the classroom.