Special needs education
Until August 1998 special needs education in the Netherlands was covered by three different laws: the Basic Education Act (WBO), the Secondary Education Act (WVO), and the Interim Act on Special Needs Education and Special Needs Secondary Education (ISOVSO).
From 1 August 1998, the WBO and the ISOVSO were replaced by the Primary Education Act (WPO), and the Act on Expertise Centres (WEC).
The WPO covers mainstream primary education and special needs primary education, education for children with learning difficulties, children with behavioural problems, and socially disadvantaged four and five year-olds. Secondary education for children with learning difficulties and children with behavioural problems is regulated by the WVO as from 1 August 1998.
The WEC regulates all other schools which formerly fell under the ISOVSO. At these special schools (formerly known as expertise centres), education for children with severe speech defects is given only at the level of primary education. Education for children with other problems and disabilities is also provided at the level of secondary education.
From 1 August 2003 special schools are divided into four clusters:
Cluster 1 comprises schools for children with a visual disability, or multiple disabilities including a visual disability.
Cluster 2 comprises schools for deaf children, children with impaired hearing and children with severe speech defects, or multiple disabilities including one of these.
Cluster 3 comprises schools for children with a physical disability, children with severe learning difficulties, and chronically ill children with a physical disability, or multiple disabilities including one of these disabilities.
Cluster 4 comprises schools for children with behavioural problems, children suffering from a chronic disease who do not have a physical disability, and schools connected with pedagogical institutions.