New Policy Memo: Access to Quality Education for Children with Special Education Needs

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) has published an overview on the main issues for accessing quality education for children with special education needs (SEN). It highlights that while options for schooling differ widely across Member States, access to quality schooling for children with SEN remains a central concern for many parents.

In fact, children with SEN are less likely to obtain high-level academic education, making it more difficult for them to access the labour market.

The report summarises policy and practice of ensuring quality education for children with SEN and provides key approaches of practices from Member States.

However, key challenges for providing quality education for children with SEN remain:

  • No formal definition for SEN exists – in Europe or internationally – making identification of SEN difficult
  • SEN is very varied: there is a wide spectrum of SEN that includes many different types of impairments and learning difficulties
  • Inclusive education may seem costly
  • Adequate teaching training is required: teachers must be equipped with the skills and knowledge to teach a diverse classroom

Models of inclusive education for children with SEN differ greatly between Member States. As such, the European Commission suggests on its publication that collaboration and the sharing of best practices between nations would be valuable.

  • Download and read the policy memo here
  • Learn more about DG EMPL here