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Sweden:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

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Overview Sweden

Contents

Sweden:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Sweden:Historical Development

Sweden:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Sweden:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Sweden:Political and Economic Situation

Sweden:Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Sweden:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Sweden:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Sweden:Organisation of Private Education

Sweden:National Qualifications Framework

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Sweden:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Funding in Education

Sweden:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Sweden:Higher Education Funding

Sweden:Adult Education and Training Funding

Sweden:Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Organisation of Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Organisation of the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Assessment in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Sweden:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Organisation of Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Higher Education

Sweden:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Sweden:First Cycle Programmes

Sweden:Bachelor

Sweden:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Sweden:Second Cycle Programmes

Sweden:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Sweden:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Sweden:Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Distribution of Responsibilities

Sweden:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Sweden:Main Providers

Sweden:Main Types of Provision

Sweden:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Sweden:Teachers and Education Staff

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

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

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

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

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

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

Sweden:Management and Other Education Staff

Sweden:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

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

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Sweden:Management Staff for Higher Education

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

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

Sweden:Quality Assurance

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Educational Support and Guidance

Sweden:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

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

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

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Sweden:Mobility and Internationalisation

Sweden:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Mobility in Higher Education

Sweden:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

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

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Sweden:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Sweden:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:National Reforms in School Education

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

Sweden:National Reforms in Higher Education

Sweden:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Sweden:European Perspective

Sweden:Legislation

Sweden:Institutions

Sweden:Glossary

Pupils with severe intellectual impairments

Pupils who are considered unable to attain the knowledge goals of the compulsory school (grundskolan), due to intellectual impairments have a lawful right to education that covers both compulsory education for those with severe intellectual impairments (särskolan) and the equivalent for the upper secondary level (gymnasiesärskola). For pupils who cannot assimilate instruction in a compulsory school for pupils with severe intellectual impairments (grundsärskolan) there is training school (träningsskolan) which provides instruction within five so called subject areas and not in traditional subjects. This kind of school is intended for those who have an important and enduring intellectual disability due to neurological damage as well as those with autism or similar conditions.

Pupils with severe physical disabilities

Pupils with severe physical disabilities have the right to specially adapted education. The criteria for having the right to such education is that the physical disability itself or in combination with other functional disabilities means that the pupil cannot follow regular education, and also that the pupil needs rehabilitation and in certain cases residential arrangements in pupil homes with appropriate care. 

Children with functional impairments who cannot attend the compulsory school (grundskolan) or the compulsory school for pupils with learning disabilities (grundsärskolan) can attend the special school (specialskolan). This includes children that are blind or have visual impairments as well as children that are deaf or hearing impaired or have a severe speech disorder.

Pupils with exceptional learning abilities

Five per cent of pupils can be considered having exceptional learning abilities, i.e. that they easily achieve the learning targets. These pupils have the right to guidance and stimulance to reach further in their learning. 

Specific support measures

Most pupils with special needs receive education in the mainstream education system. The curricula set out specific goals to attain for pupils with impaired hearing/vision and physical disabilities as well as for pupils with intellectual impairments. Compulsory and upper secondary teachers often teach pupils with intellectual impairments.

Municipalities can organise special provision according to the specific needs of the pupils in their catchment area.

Regional resource centers promote the all-round development of children and young people who are either deaf or have visual, hearing or speech impairments. Activities focus primarily on special pedagogical research and training.

Specific legislative framework

The Education Act applies to the entire education system. It has been supplemented by a number of ordinances issued by the government for the various types of schools, e.g. the ordinance for education for pupils with impaired hearing (Specialskoleförordningen, 1995:401) and the ordinances on education for pupils and adults with severe intellectual impairments (Särskoleförordningen, 1995:206, Förordningen om gymnasiesärskolan, 1994:741, Förordningen om vuxenutbildning för utvecklingsstörda, 1992:736).

The curricula are laid down by the government. At compulsary level education for pupils with severe intellectual impairments has its own curriculum (Lärpolan för grundskärskolan).  Upper secondary education for pupils with severe intellectual impairments share curriculum with mainstream education. However, when awarding grades teachers have the possibility of disregarding specific grading criteria in syllabuses where special reasons exists e.g. disabilities which directly prevent pupils from fulfilling the requirements laid down in the criteria.

The Discrimination Act (Diskrimineringslagen 2008:567) aims to protect against discrimination based on gender, transgender identity or expression, ethnic origin, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age. The act applies to most areas of society, including working life and all parts of the education system. The Act also prohibits discrimination of trainees and of temporary or hired labor. There is also a Child and Pupil representative (Ombudsman) to represent children and pupils in cases concerning offensive treatment.

Under the Act on Support and Services to Disabled Persons (Lag om stöd och service till vissa funktionshindrade, LSS) children with severe disabilities are entitled to personal assistance and a number of other forms of support and service.

The National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools (Specialpedagogiska skolmyndigheten), is the central authority responsible for allocating public funds for special pedagogical issues. The institute creates and provides support to school organisers on special pedagogical issues related to disabilities.

General objectives

Under provisions laid down in the Education Act and the curricula, schools have a special responsibility for providing pupils with the help and support they need to overcome any difficulties. It is not centrally regulated what form the support should take but measures should be based on each pupil’s needs and may include technical aids as well as additional staff resources. In most municipalities there are teachers who are specialised in supporting pupils in need of extra support. The school head is responsible for ensuring that an action plan is established if it is apparent that pupils need special support.

In the Discrimination Act, (Diskrimineringslag SFS 2008:567), which applies to the entire education system, disability is defined as a permanent physical, mental or intellectual limitation of a person's functional capacity as a consequence of an injury or an illness that existed at birth, has arisen thereafter or which may be expected to arise.

The aim of the educational support for pupils with special needs within mainstream education is to give all pupils genuine opportunities to meet the standards of the education, as formulated in terms of knowledge goals. Children in need of special support have the right to receive this in the mainstream school to the extent needed in order to have a chance of attaining the goals of the education. If a pupil after an overall assessment is not considered to be able to attain the goals of mainstream education a place in a school for pupils with severe intellectual impairments (särskola) is provided. Pupils who need intensive special pedagogical support during a certain period may receive this from the National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools (Specialpedagogiska skolmyndigheten).

For pupils with autism who fulfill the conditions for attaining the learning outcomes of the compulsory school but need support, special classes are arranged in a number of municipalities. These classes consist of significantly fewer children than regular classes and teacher/pupil ratios are high in order to satisfy the special needs of each child. Those who work with autistic children are pedagogues with training in special needs education. A child with autism can also attend a regular class and receive extra support; for pupils with autism, it is primarily the method of learning that is adapted and not the teaching materials.

The overwhelming majority of pupils with physical disabilities attend a mainstream compulsory school (grundskola) and receive the extra support they need at that institution. For cases when this is not possible special provision is provided, and consists of regional special schools for pupils with deafness or impaired hearing (specialskola) and national special schools for pupils with visual impairment and additional disabilities, deafness or impaired hearing combined with severe learning disabilities or congenital deaf-blindness, and severe speech and language disabilities. A government agency supports municipalities and schools in the education of pupils with disabilities by producing educational materials and other tools etc.

Compulsory education for pupils with severe intellectual impairments (särskolan) is divided into compulsory school for pupils with severe intellectual impairments (grundsärskolan) and training school (träningsskolan). Nine years of school is mandatory for all children and youth between the ages of 7-16 with an optional tenth year. The training schools are intended for those who are not able to follow the lessons in the compulsory school for pupils with severe intellectual impairments. In most cases the compulsory education for pupils with severe intellectual impairments (särskolan) is organisationally integrated in mainstream compulsory education and share premises with a municipal school. A pupil may attend mainstream compulsory school (grundskolan) but follow the syllabi for education for pupils with intellectual impairments if the parents so wish.

Upper secondary education

After nine/ten years in compulsory education for pupils with severe intellectual impairments, pupils are entitled to four years of education in upper secondary school for pupils with severe intellectual impairments (gymnasiesärskolan).

Within mainstream upper secondary education there are regulations concerning special support measures. If a pupil will not achieve the knowledge goals laid down in the syllabi or if the pupil for other reasons needs special support, this is provided. Special instruction in the classroom may be organised for pupils in need of such support; the school head is responsible for ensuring that a support programme is drawn up for the pupil. For pupils in the upper secondary school who due to sickness or for similar reasons are not able to participate in regular schoolwork, special instruction is arranged in the hospital, in the pupil's home or at another appropriate place. For pupils who due to hearing or visual impairments, physical disabilities or other specific study difficulties cannot follow regular instruction, special classes may be arranged. Pupils with a foreign background may receive study supervision or instruction in their mother tongue.

The curriculum for the upper secondary school (Läroplan för gymnasieskolan) states that teaching should be adapted to each pupil's preconditions and needs. The school has a particular responsibility for pupils with functional disabilities but there are no detailed regulations governing this. It is the responsibility of the municipality to take the necessary measures.

Special support in mainstream upper secondary education (gymnasieskolan) is given to pupils who may not attain the knowledge goals, pupils who due to sickness or similar reasons cannot participate in regular school work, pupils who due to hearing or visual impairments, physical disabilities or explicit study difficulties cannot follow regular instruction and also pupils with a foreign background who need study supervision or mother tongue tuition. 

There are also national upper secondary schools for pupils with impaired hearing (riksgymnasiet för döva och hörselskadade), and for pupils with severe physical disabilities (riksgymnasium för svårt rörelsehindrade).


Swedish Upper Secondary School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Riksgymnasiet för döva och hörselskadade, RGD-RGH)

The National Upper Secondary School for students with Physical Disabilities (Riksgymnasiet för svårt rörelsehindrade

The National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools (Specialpedagogiska skolmyndigheten)

Law on service and support to certain people with disabilities, (Lag om stöd och service till vissa funktionshindrade SFS 1993:387)

Education Act, (Skollagen SFS 2010:800)