Enrolling a child with special educational needs in Differentiated Instruction

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From the age of 4, attending primary school to obtain a basic education is mandatory for all children. Basic education consists of 9 years of school, divided into 4 levels. It begins with Level 1—formerly known as early learning or preschool education—and continues with Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4, which, together, make up primary school. In principle, each level lasts 2 years.

When a child with special educational needs (SEN) reaches the age of entry into basic education, assistance measures suited to the child's learning difficulties will be offered, ranging from adapting the instruction and support provided by teachers in the classroom to inclusion in a special education class, which is an integral part of basic education.

Who is concerned

All children aged 4 and 6 by 31 August of the year in progress, and therefore old enough to attend basic education (preschool and primary school), are, in principle, subject to mandatory schooling. Upon the parents' request, however, it is possible to delay a child's entry into the next level by one year.

How to proceed

Opting for special education

Parents may:

  • either register their child in a specialised school offering special education; or
  • opt for full- or part-time inclusion in the regular educational system; or
  • where applicable, opt for placement in an accredited institution abroad.

In making their choice, they receive guidance and support from the School Inclusion Commission (Commission d'inclusion scolaire – CIS), which puts forward an educational plan tailored to their child's needs. The commission comprises, among others, the district inspector, a teacher and 3 members of a multi-disciplinary team (composed of psychologists, psycho-motor therapists and educators) who will devise an educational plan for the child, either at the parents' request, or at the request of the teacher, with the parents' approval.

Differentiated instruction makes it possible to include and support disabled children and those with special needs in a suitable way; it is intended to promote the child's development with a view to better integration into society.

Procedures for admission into differentiated instruction

A teacher at a regular basic education school who notices serious learning difficulties in a student who may benefit from specific help, with the approval of the district's educational inspector, may request help from the CIS, charged with preventing educational difficulties and organising specific plans for students with special needs. Parental agreement is required.

Personalised educational plan

After the teacher initiates the process, a personalised educational plan is devised by the multi-disciplinary team in cooperation with the classroom teacher and/or the educational team, after discussion with the parents.

The plan may recommend:

  • adaptation of in-class instruction provided by the classroom teacher in cooperation with the educational team;
  • in-class assistance by one or more members of the multi-disciplinary team;
  • temporary transfer into another class for certain subjects;
  • instruction in a special education (differentiated instruction) class;
  • education in a special school or institution in Luxembourg or abroad.

The plan may also mention additional aid granted to ensure academic support for the child. If applicable, it may provide for necessary adaptations and adjustments concerning the skills to be acquired and the means of assessment to be used.

The plan is submitted to the parents for their approval. The CIS reviews the plan annually and incorporates any changes deemed necessary to ensure that the student continues to make progress at school.

Where enrolment in a school offering Differentiated Instruction is indicated, the CIS will send a transfer proposal to the National Medical-Pyschological-Educational Commission (Commission médico-psycho-pédagogique nationale – CMPPN) for approval. The Commission may request additional input, if necessary. Then the CMPPN submits a transfer proposal to the parents.

Decision and appeals if parents disagree

The parents must make a decision within 2 months of the proposal. If no decision has been made by that time, the child will be automatically enrolled in the institution proposed by the CMPPN.

If the parents disagree with the CIS' proposed plan, as approved by the CMPPN, where applicable, they may appeal to the Minister, who will submit the file to an appointed panel of experts.

The group of experts may either agree with the CIS' proposed plan or make an alternative proposal.

Point of contact for the parents

For each student brought to its attention, the CIS appoints, from among its members, a contact person who, together with the district inspector, supervises the collaboration between the school staff, the non-instructional staff, the members of the relevant multi-disciplinary team, and the members of the relevant Medical School Commission in question.

This person serves as the point of contact for the student and the parents. The parents and the classroom teacher in question are informed of the recommended procedures and are involved in the proposed measures to help the student.

Transfer from differentiated education into basic education

Requests to transfer a child out of differentiated education and back into basic education must be sent by the child's guardian to the competent CIS at least 2 months prior to the start of the new school year. The commission will forward that information to the CMPPN and to the Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth along with its own recommendation.

Enrolment of an SEN child in a school abroad

If a child has very specific difficulties that cannot be managed in Luxembourg, and, more generally, if there is no suitable instruction available to meet the child's needs, the CIS may propose placement in a specialised institution abroad accredited by the Minister of National Education, subject to the prior approval of the parents.

The CIS sends this proposal to the CMPPN for approval. The CMPPN may request additional input, if necessary.

Who to contact

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