1.6 Special educational needs

Special educational needs support

Section 5-7 of the Education Act states that children below compulsory school age are entitled to special educational needs support if they require it. The support may be given in kindergartens, schools, social and medical institutions, or by the educational psychology service.

More children are receiving special educational needs support

7,950 children received special educational needs support in kindergarten in 2015 (see Table 1.3). This is an increase since 2014, and there has been a steady rise in special needs provision over the last few years. These children are allocated an average of 15 hours of special needs support every week, divided between teachers and assistants. Assistants and teachers are assigned more or less the same number of special needs hours. It is mainly older children who receive special needs support (Figure 1.11). This may be because special needs support often is intended to prepare the children for school and because challenges often only begin to surface after a few years of attending kindergarten (Wendelborg et al. 2015).

Table 1.3 Children receiving special educational support. 2011-2015. Numbers and per cent.

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Children receiving special educational support. Figure 6 482 6 577 6 959 7 799 7 950
Proportion of all kindergarten children 2,3% 2,3% 2,4% 2,7% 2,8%

Source: Directorate for Education and Training

Figure 1.11 Children with an individual decision on special educational needs support. 2015. Numbers.


Source: Directorate for Education and Training

Parents experience that their children receive the assistance they need

Around three quarters of parents of children who receive special educational needs support, are satisfied with the special needs provision their children receive. Those who are not satisfied report that their children receive too few hours with a special needs teacher or assistant, and that there is inadequate expertise and too high staff turnover amongst assistants (Wendelborg et al. 2015).