European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education

The European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education is an independent organization that acts as a platform for collaboration for its members. The Agency’s mission is to help member states improve the quality and effectiveness of their inclusive provision for all learners. [1]

All European countries are committed to working with inclusive education systems. They are in different ways, on their past and current contexts and histories. Inclusive education systems are seen as a vital component of the wider aspiration of the socially inclusive societies, and both ethically and politically.

The ultimate vision for inclusive education is to ensure that all learners are provided with meaningful, high-quality educational opportunities in their local community, their friends and peers .

The Agency has a mandate from its member countries to facilitate collaboration with the European Council and the Council of Europe in the ET 2020 Strategy [2] and in agreement with international agreements, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child .

The Agency was established in 1996 as an initiative of the Danish Ministry of Education. The Agency is based in Odense, Denmark and the Agency has an office in Brussels, Belgium. [3]

Through its activities the Agency facilitates the collection, processing and transfer of information and the sharing of knowledge.


At present the Agency has 30 member countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales). Serbia is an observing country. [4]


Agency activities work towards the 2020 strategic objective ‚ promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship ‚. In line with this objective, the principal focus of the Agency is on inclusive education and the characteristics of all learners, in particular those who are vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion, such as students with disabilities and / or special educational needs.

By analyzing and identifying key factors that support positive developments, the Agency provides information on policies and practices, and provides information on the reality of Europe.

In its activities, the Agency focuses on annual and multi-annual work programs. Annual reports presenting an overview of annual activities are available online. [5]

Project work

All topics are focused on issues of common interest for policy makers for special needs and inclusive education. The topics to be discussed in the subject are identified via a systemic collection of information on the priorities countries.

Priority topics include early childhood intervention , assessment in inclusive settings, teacher education for inclusion, vocational education and training, ICT for inclusion, information accessibility and data collection in the field on SNE. [6]

This is a list of Agency projects categorized under thematic sub-groups:

Pre-school education

  • Inclusive Early Childhood Education (IECE) (2015-2017)
  • Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) (2003-2005) and (2009-2010)
  • Early Intervention in Europe (1997-2000)

Compulsory education sector

  • Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education (2014-2016)
  • Raising Achievement for All Learners – Quality in Inclusive Education (RA4AL) (2011-2012)
  • Organization of Provision to Support Inclusive Education (2012-2014)
  • Teacher Education for Inclusion (2009-2012)
  • Mapping the Implementation of Policy for Inclusive Education (MIPIE) (2010-2011)
  • Inclusive Education in Classroom Practice Indicators – Follow up project (2009-2010)
  • Inclusive Education in Action (IEA) [7] (2009-2010) in co-operation with UNESCO
  • Indicators for Inclusive Education (2008)
  • Assessment in Inclusive settings (2005-2006) and (2006-2008)
  • Multicultural Diversity and Special Needs Education (2006-2008)
  • Inclusive Education and Classroom Practice in Secondary Education (2003-2004)
  • Inclusive Education and Classroom Practice in Primary Education (1999-2002)
  • Teacher Support (1997-2000)

Post-compulsory education

  • Vocational Education and Training (2010-2012)
  • Higher Education Accessibility Guide (HEAG) (2001-2002) and (2009-2010)
  • Individual Transition Plans (2003-2005)
  • Transition from School to Employment (1999-2002)

Data Collection

  • European Agency Statistics on Inclusive Education (2012-ongoing)
  • Special Needs Education Country Data Collection – 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012

Key Principles

  • Key Principles for Promoting Quality in Inclusive Education – Recommendations for Practice (2010-2011)
  • Key Principles for Promoting Quality in Inclusive Education – Recommendations for Policy Makers (2009)
  • Key Principles for Special Needs Education – Recommendations for Policy Makers (2002-2003)

Information and Communication Technology

  • ICT for Information Accessibility in Learning (ICT4IAL) (2013-2015) in co-operation with European Schoolnet , the International Association of Universities , UNESCO , the DAISY Consortium and the Global Initiative on Inclusive ICTs
  • ICT for Inclusion (2012-2013)
  • Accessible Information Provision for Lifelong Learning (i-access) (2011-2012)
  • ICTs in Education for People with Disabilities (2010-2011) in co-operation with UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education / IITE
  • Information Society Needs-NET (SEN-IST-NET) (2001-2004)
  • ICT and Special Needs Education (1999-2001)

Cross-cutting messages

  • Early School Leaving and Learners with Disabilities and / or Special Educational Needs (2016)
  • Country Policy Review and Analysis (2013-ongoing)
  • Financing Policies for Inclusive Education Systems (2016-2018)
  • Financing of Inclusive Education (2014-2015)
  • Special Needs Education in Europe (Vol.2) – provision in post-primary education (2006)
  • Special Education across Europe 2003 (2002-2003)
  • Special Needs Education in Europe (2002)
  • Financing of Special Needs Education (1997-2000)
  • Integration in Europe (1997-1998)

Information provision

Information from project activities is summarized in the following tables, in the form of reports, summary flyers, country reports and study visit reports. Main project results are in the official languages, a total of 24 languages. All materials on the Agency are free to download. [8]

Detailed information is Agency Each member country’s legal system, financing, the identification of special educational needs, special needs education dans le education system, teacher training and is summarised in the National Organization of Provision section [9] of the Agency website.


In addition to thematic projects, the Agency organizes special events, conference conferences, [10] round table discussions, [11] thematic sessions [12] and other events. These events are an opportunity to raise awareness, share information on priority areas and facilitate networking for participants.

Two of the four Parliament Hearings for young people took place in the European Parliament in 2003 [13] and in 2011, [14] [15] and one in the Portuguese Parliament in 2007. [16] The last Hearing from October 2015 entitled ‚ Inclusive Education: Take Action! Luxembourg Recommendations‘ was an official event of the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union. [17] [18]

These events were organized for an opportunity to express their views on inclusive education and to reach policy-makers. Results from the Hearing have been presented to key decision makers at both national and European levels for their consideration and further action.



The Agency was established in 1996 as an initiative of the Danish Ministry of Education, at the end of the EC Helios II program. [19] Representatives from the Ministries of Education of the European Union, Member States of the European Union, and Norway and Iceland, supported the initiative for furthering their co-operation in the field of special needs and inclusive education. [20] [21]

The first phase of the Agency’s existence was a three-year trial that ran until the end of July 1999 and was largely funded by the Danish authorities. The Secretariat was established in Odense, Denmark. The European Commission, through the Directorate General for Education, provided financial support to projects.

Ministries of education of the member states of the United States of America. These are the Representative Board member, the National Co-ordinator and national experts. [22] Starting August 1999 all the member countries took an equal governance of the Agency. In 1999 another Agency office was established in Brussels. The European Commission continued to support the activities of the European Commission in the field of Socrates .

Between 1997 and 2001 the Agency’s work is focused on creating a platform for co-operation at European level through its national website.


Increased budget support during 2002, mainly via the budget line approved by the European Parliament, facilitated more stable and long-term development of the Agency’s activities. The Agency benefited from an operating grant from 2002 until 2004.

In 2004, the Agency was included in Decision No 791/2004 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, [23] This decision provided a legal basis for the Agency and ensured the provision of an operating grant until 2006.

By this time the work has been focused on strengthening and strengthening the Agency’s position as a platform for co-operation at European level. Co-operation activities took place with European and international organizations. The Agency has been expanded and national networks have been extended by nominated national experts participating in the Agency projects.

Since 2007

The Agency now has 30 member countries. Since 2007 it has welcomed Slovenia and the Slovak Republic as member countries. The newest member is Bulgaria, who joined in 2017.

Since 2007 the Agency has been one of six European institutions supported by the Monnet initiative within the EU Lifelong Learning Program 2007-2013 and similarly under the Jean Monnet initiative [24] within the new EU Erasmus + [25] education program (2014-2020).

In terms of thinking, implementation and language use, the concept of ‚ special needs education ‚ has shifted towards ‚ inclusive education ‚. Similarly, the way of thinking about learners‘ needs has moved from the concept of ’special educational needs‘ to‘ additional needs‘.

In 2014 the Agency changed its name from the European Agency for Development to Special Needs Education to the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education , as a member country representatives believe that the new name represents better the Agency’s views and mission.

Co-operative relationships

The Agency maintains active relationships with other specialists European organizations [26] working in the field of international and international organizations and organizations in the field of education, such as UNESCO [27] and its institutes ( International Bureau of Education / IBE, and the International Institute for Information Technologies in Education / ITTE [28] [29] ), the UNICEF CEE / CIS regional office, [30] the OECD , the International Labor Organizationand the World Bank .


  1. Jump up^
  2. Jump up^ Education and Training 2020 strategic framework:
  3. Jump up^ Agency offices:
  4. Jump up^ Agency member countries:
  5. Jump up^ Annual Agency Report 2015:
  6. Jump up^ Agency projects:
  7. Jump up^ IEA project website:
  8. Jump up^ Publications are free to download:
  9. Jump up^ National Organization of Provision:
  10. Jump up^ Examples of Agency project conferences:
  11. Jump up^ example of round table discussion
  12. Jump up^ Example of thematic session
  13. Jump up^ European Parliament Hearing 2003:
  14. Jump up^ European Parliament Hearing 2011 web area:
  15. Jump up^ Young Voices on Inclusive Education video:
  16. Jump up^ Parliament Hearing in Portugal 2007:
  17. Jump up^ Inclusive Education: Take Action! video:
  18. Jump up^ Inclusive Education: Take Action! web area:
  19. Jump up^ Helios II EC program:
  20. Jump up^ Agency history:
  21. Jump up^ Agency history:
  22. Jump up^ Organizational Structure of the Agency:
  23. Jump up^ Decision No 791/2004 / EC:
  24. Jump up^ Agency supported by the Jean Monnet Program:
  25. Jump up^ Erasmus + EU program for education, Training, Youth and Sport for 2014-2020
  26. Jump up^ Video on European co-operation:
  27. Jump up^ Agency IEA project cooperation with UNESCO
  28. Jump up^ Agency co-operation with UNESCO-ITTE:
  29. Jump up^ Agency co-operation with UNESCO-ITTE: with-disabilities
  30. Jump up^ UNICEF CEE / CIS Regional Office: