Steady increase in pupils attending special schools

16/12/2011 15:00

In school year 2010/’11 nearly 69 thousand pupils went to special schools, compared to 54 thousand in school year 2003/’04.

Pupils going to special schools

Pupils going to special schools

Growth mainly in secondary education

The increased in the number of pupils in special schools occurred almost exclusively in secondary education. This went up from 20.5 thousand pupils in 2003/’04 to almost 34.5 thousand in 2010/’11. In special needs primary education the number of pupils remained fairly constant, with 33.6 thousand pupils in 2003/’04 versus 34.4 thousand in 2010/’11.

More pupils with severe behavioural disorders

The growth in special needs secondary education mainly comes from pupils with severe developmental issues. The number of cluster 4 pupils nearly doubled from over 10 thousand in 2003/’04 to over 19 thousand in 2010/’11.

Pupils going to special schools by cluster

Pupils going to special schools by cluster

Four times as many boys in cluster 4 as girls

Boys constitute a distinct majority in special needs education of pupils with severe behavioural problems. In 2010/’11 there were almost 26 thousand boys (81 percent) in cluster 4, compared to over 6 thousand girls (19 percent). Two out of three boys and girls in this cluster have severe behavioural and learning issues. The others are in pedological institutes or have chronic psychological disorders.

Pupils with severe behavioural disorders in special schools

Pupils with severe behavioural disorders in special schools

The rapid increase in the number of children with behavioural disorders in primary and secondary education has to do with advances in diagnostics of behavioural problems and with social changes. Behavioural problems are now diagnosed more quickly and more often, so that children are referred more to suitable education facilities.

Aad de Wit