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(Luxembourg) SPED numbers DOUBLE in 5 yrs due to increase in support

April  24, 2024, Luxembourg Times: Number of Luxembourg students with special needs rises sharply

The number of school age children with special needs in Luxembourg has more than doubled over the last five years, figures released on Tuesday by the Education Ministry show.

“The main reason for this increase is the substantial investment in resources that has been made in recent years,” an Education Ministry spokesperson told the Luxembourg Times. “As the number of specialist staff in schools, lycées and skills centres has been substantially increased, more pupils are able to benefit from care. In addition, the systematic screening of all children for motor, language and visual impairments is also helping to identify specific needs more effectively.”

The number of primary school pupils receiving additional help from the specific educational needs’ support team (ESEB) has risen from 702 in the school year that started in 2019 to 2,574 in current school year, Education Minister Claude Meisch said in response to a parliamentary question from CSV lawmakers Max Hengel and Marc Spautz.

There was a jump of 999 primary school pupils under ESEB care between the 2022/2023 school year and the current school year.

In high school, the number of students who received additional help from ESEB rose by 1,062 to 2,419 between the school years ending in 2022 and 2023.

In Luxembourg’s primary schools, localised support for children with special educational needs often involves teachers and specialist instructors.

“The pedagogical teams regularly analyse the needs of the school population in order to adapt the learning sequences accordingly,” Meisch wrote in his response.

The minister explained that because this kind of support is designed to be flexible and ranges from short term assistance to sporadic care and longer-term follow-up, specific figures on how many pupils received help from a specialist instructor were not available.

However, pupils with longer term or very specific difficulties at school can be referred to a regional Inclusion committee which, with the consent of the parents, will diagnose the child’s needs and elaborate a tailor-made support plan with the specific educational needs’ support team.

If this fails to provide results, the committee can suggest the child be given care by one of eight national skills centres, which offer a range of more specific programmes.

“The most common specific needs that required specific care were in the areas of language development, intellectual development, autism spectrum disorders and socio-emotional development,” Meisch wrote.

Efforts will continue to strengthen the ESEB team, with plans to recruit specialist staff, the ministry said. “The network of regional branches of the skills centres will be expanded to enable all pupils to benefit from this offer, regardless of where they live,” its spokesperson said.  


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