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Academic Secondary Schools comprise two levels and only the first level accounts for compulsory education in Austria see Figure 1. This type of school frequently evens the path to university and does not focus on a career in workmanship, which again means an early separation right after primary school - at the age of ten of children due to their academic performance and choice. Central Secondary Schools focus on a career in workmanship.

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The last year of compulsory schooling can be completed at Polytechnic Schools, which only comprise one grade. The objective is to prepare pupils for a career focusing on workmanship. The ninth year of compulsory schooling can also be completed at Academic Secondary Schools. In other cases, the ninth year of compulsory schooling is also realized when a student needs to repeat a year due to not sufficient achievement. The Austrian school system is rather resistant to change. New approaches face quite a lot of difficulties and unwillingness. Therefore, ambitious persons or groups often rapidly reach their limit when trying to implement renewals or restructuring concerning the educational system.

These difficulties are due to the Austrian Constitutional Law which also includes school laws. Usually changes concerning established structures can only be realized by means of a project, so called "Schulversuche" also the New Secondary Schools started off as school projects. These projects have rigid limits in terms of duration and only few schools can participate.

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Scientific evaluation frequently does not take place and modest financial means are common. School projects rarely are implemented in or have an impact on mainstream schools. In the next chapters, a focus is laid on integration and inclusion in the Austrian educational system. First, a look at the status quo will describe the current situation in Austria and the differences between the federal states. Second, a short overview will be given about the development of the Austrian inclusive system. These two chapters refer to the first subject of interest and aim at answering the first central questions.

Parents can hence choose between a mainstream school and a special school. In order to facilitate this choice for parents, Special Education Centers are supposed to support parents. Special Education Centers are, still, responsible for all the questions referring to the education and enrollment of children identified as having SEN. This includes assessment and diagnosis of SEN, consulting parents concerning their decision whether they prefer an inclusive setting or a special school for their child, allocation and distribution of resources.

However, these Special Education Centers are special schools at the very same time, so besides counseling the parents, Special Education Centers need to consider the management of their own special school. An obvious conflict of roles and interests is the consequence. This conflict and future plans for changing this situation are discussed when undertaking a closer examination of the third subject of interest and its central questions, namely the current developments in the movement towards inclusion.

Even though there is a common legislative regulation in terms of compulsory schooling, the system concerning the kindergarten is anchored within each federal state's jurisdiction European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, b. This has led to quite a variety of different models for inclusion in kindergarten. There exist inclusive groups as well as individual inclusion in mainstream kindergartens. Additionally, there are remedial kindergartens which can be either public or private institutions European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, As mentioned before, in terms of children identified as having SEN at school age, two different approaches are common and existing side by side within Austria.

On the one hand, there are special schools that comprise nine grades leading to an accomplishment of the compulsory school attendance. These special schools exist in ten different branches, depending on the type of impairment the child shows e.

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On the other hand, there are three different models of joint education European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, b Firstly, in inclusive classes , a team of teachers instruct students with and without SEN. In all lessons, the team of teachers instructs together which means that the children with and without SEN are in the same classroom all day long. Secondly, in classes with support teachers , pupils identified as having SEN receive extra support for a few hours per week. This support is offered by a special school teacher in an extra room, whereas the remaining time students identified as having SEN stay in the mainstream classes.

Thirdly, though not found very frequently, there is the model of inclusion summed up as co-operation classes. Usually, primary, lower secondary and pre-vocational school classes have different forms of organization than special school classes. However, in this model of inclusion, teachers agree upon a plan of common instruction. This time of instructing pupils together might range from only some time up to the entire time of instruction European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, In Academic Secondary Schools, until today, integration and inclusion have been rare, since the separation of children due to their academic achievement happens at an early stage.

Hence, most academic secondary schools have shown an anti-inclusive character; however, there are some exceptions for further information see Diakonieverein Salzburg, The development towards inclusion has been in movement for over three decades; nonetheless, we are still far from reaching a fully inclusive system. Overall, However, inclusion rates, i. In , the federal state of Styria managed to nearly fully realize the idea of inclusion, which can be seen from an inclusion rate of When talking about overall figures, one needs to bear in mind that there exist also variations within the Federal States in terms of how high the percentage of inclusion is Flieger, In Tyrol, for example, the inclusion rate varies between To better understand where the rather high differences between the federal states of Austria stem from, a closer look into the development of the inclusive movement in Austria is necessary.

Therefore, the next chapter focuses on the first steps taken towards integration and inclusion. Moreover, the development from the early 80s to now will be roughly described. Before , all children with special needs in Austria were taught in special schools. There, they stayed until the end of compulsory schooling.

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This view depicted the idea of segregation where pupils identified as having SEN are educated separately from their peers without SEN who attend mainstream schools. The movement towards integration, and subsequently towards inclusive education, rooted in the early s to a large extent in the federal state of Styria; there, a good cooperation between parents, teachers and in the end also politicians eased the process. Back in the s, the aim was rather an experiment as to if and how integration could work principally speaking.

The situation was a fully separated setting for children with and for those without SEN. By realizing that even with highly motivated teachers in special schools, no one could provide contact between children with and without SEN, the need for immediate action was recognized Gebhardt et al. In the end, some exceptionally motivated and one must say rather brave women started an integrative classroom in in the federal state of Styria.

For this integrative classroom, the official authorization was only granted retroactively while this pilot classroom project had already been ongoing. Bearing in mind the fact that the integration movement mostly started in the federal state of Styria, one might understand the quick and determined realization see Figure 3. Additionally, the motivated pioneers in Styria managed, by including politics, to redirect a bottom-up initiative to a top-down process.

Three people were literally the engine from the starting point on throughout quite some way of the process Gebhardt et al. More precisely, in this special case in Styria, three stakeholders turned from concerned parents or teachers into politicians themselves. Also in other federal states e. Burgenland, Vienna and Tyrol , a movement towards inclusion started in the early s; however, in none of these federal states the cooperation between school authorities and other parties e.

Hence, the realization of ambitious projects was harder to achieve. By the way of example, Reutte a district in Tyrol with about 32, inhabitants also already started a pilot project with an inclusive class in Friedle, In , the President of the State School Board of the federal state of Styria visited the first inclusive classroom, and thereon had been supporting the movement towards inclusion. With this support on a political level, an initiative of the Federal State Parliament of Styria to completely include children identified as having SEN into regular schools was passed to the Austrian government.

From that point onwards, scientific evaluation of school trials was able to take place. In , the amendment of a law was passed which officially permits an integrative schooling for children identified as having SEN. Even though this law is effective and valid throughout Austria, there are still rather big differences in the rate of integration between the individual federal states. In , delegates of the World Conference on Special Needs Education from 92 different countries, also from Austria called "to endorse the approach of inclusive schooling and to support the development of special needs education as an integral part of all education programmes" UNESCO, Therefore, inclusive schools are based on the principle that all children, regardless of their difficulties, study together.

Schools and teachers have to acknowledge, recognize and respond to the variety of necessities and different learning styles. The framework conditions administrative, organizational and the ones concerning accessibility need to allow to meet the continuum of different needs UNESCO, In , Special Education Centers were established nationwide. As a first step, the further construction of special schools was to be abandoned and therefore every new built school needed to be an inclusive type of school.

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This dialogue paper comprised steps concerning the education and formation of teachers and assistants. Also the realization of an internal differentiation within the classroom, i. Graz, the capital of the federal state of Styria, and the eastern parts of Styria are declared model-regions to pilot school projects aiming at a fully inclusive education throughout Austria, as outlined in the National Action Plan Die Presse, A transfer of know-how and experience is therefore seen as a basis for the realization of the National Action Plan until The pilot project is starting in and will be supervised and evaluated scientifically by the Inclusive Education unit, University of Graz.

Future plans of three different federal states of Austria will be described in chapter 5. The current development of Austria and its federal states, respectively, can be seen in Figure 4. To this day, only few empirical studies investigating inclusive schooling in Austria exist. Most of them were conducted in Styria.

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Moreover, administrative characteristics of the Styrian inclusive school system were examined, too Gebhardt et al. Moreover, one special education teacher works on average This implies that a significant difference exists in the achievement scores in reading and mathematics of students with and without SEN. This was true for basic arithmetic but also for reading, spelling and word decoding. The same applies for social integration, were students identified as having SEN reported to see themselves significantly less socially integrated than students without SEN Gebhardt et al.

The results indicated that students identified as having SEN experienced also less social participation than students without SEN.

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Additionally, the cooperation between the general education teacher and the special education teacher in inclusive classrooms was examined by Gebhardt, Krammer, Schwab, and Gasteiger-Klicpera The authors came to the conclusion that a small difference existed between the regular teacher and the special education teacher regarding individual education plans in the secondary level. Nevertheless, significant differences were found between teachers at elementary level and teachers at secondary levels.

In fact, elementary teachers were more satisfied with the teamwork and the individual educational planning than secondary teachers. This is mainly due to the fact that in elementary school usually one teacher is assigned to a class for a wide range of subjects, whereas at secondary level usually each teacher is responsible for only one subject Gebhardt et al.

Some empirical research was realized regarding the diagnostic procedure for identifying students with Learning Disabilities LD. Krammer, Gebhardt, Paleczek, Rossmann, and Gasteiger-Klicpera pointed out, that standardized IQ scores, and thus the discrepancy model, are not used for identifying LD in the Styrian education system. In fact, a diagnosis of LD in Styria is usually based on poor reading skills, poor basic arithmetic skills, behavioral problems and deficits in the German language Krammer et.