Supporting learning from early childhood to secondary transition: the realization of equality and areas of development

Introduction

Equality and fairness are the guiding principles of the Finnish education system. Special education plays a central role in achieving educational equality. A more detailed review of the current state of equality is needed to assess how well existing support systems in Finland are meeting learning and development needs.

This longitudinal project examines early childhood, pre-primary, and primary education support systems, as well as their relation to pupils’ transition from basic education to secondary education. It also aims to contrast approaches implemented in different municipalities in Finland.

The project involves the cooperation of a large number of experts in the areas of special education and training, assessment of education, early childhood education, and economics from the University of Tampere and the University of Helsinki, along with researchers from the State Audit Office and the State Economic Research Center.

Objectives of the project

The specific outcomes of the project are to:

1  Identify regional disparities in the provision of support for early childhood, pre-primary, and basic education
 Examine the implementation of the support programmes (inclusion versus segregation) to identify the importance of learning outcomes and attitudes
3  Examine the secondary school education placement of pupils receiving special support in primary school
 Determine how funding changes affect the ability of municipalities to provide special support
5  Identify how support programmes plan to meet development needs in the fields of early childhood, pre-primary, and primary education

The research provides information for both governmental and municipal decision-makers and for practitioners in different parts of Finland who make support arrangements for pupils. The findings of the project are valuable because targeted and timely interventions in special education support help facilitate inclusion and integration into society.