Parents are to be given more flexibility to decide at what age their children should start school. Changes are also to be made to the realisation of inclusive schools and to pre-school language support. On 6 February 2018 the committee for education and cultural affairs in Lower Saxony voted overwhelmingly in favour of changes to the education act, which would allow for these and other changes.
The increased flexibility in the cut-off date for primary school enrolment will allow the needs of each family and the individual development of each child to be better taken into consideration. Parents of children who turn six between 1 July and 30 September will be able to postpone their school start for one year.
Instead of the complex process of establishing each child’s language proficiency when they reach school age, language skills are to play a central role in early childhood educational facilities, such as kindergartens and crèches. These changes will allow for specific linguistic support measures to be provided where necessary in the final year of kindergarten. Day-care facilities will receive financial support for early linguistic support and development. Transferring responsibility for early language development to day-care facilities will enable primary school teachers to spend more time teaching other subjects.
Education authorities will also be able to retain existing special needs schools that focus on children with learning difficulties until the 2027/28 academic year. Schools that are not sufficiently equipped for special needs education and are therefore reliant upon special needs schools for those with learning difficulties will thus be given additional time to properly prepare for inclusive schooling.
Editorial staff (alb, sh)