Special Education in Switzerland

Navigating Special Educational Needs Provision in Switzerland: A Guide for Relocating Parents

Relocating to a new country can be an exciting  popadventure, but for parents of children with a disability, pit can also be a daunting challenge. If you’re planning a move to Switzerland, understanding the local special education provision is crucial for ensuring a smooth transition and continued support for your child’s educational journey.

Public School: The Importance of Language Skills

One of the first hurdles you may encounter in Switzerland is the language barrier. Proficiency in the local language is not only essential for daily living but also plays a critical role in accessing educational services. As a parent of a child with a disability, you will need to lobby for your child and collaborate with special education services.

Variability in Service Availability

Switzerland offers a range of special education services, but availability and quality can vary significantly depending on your location. In and around major urban centres, you’re more likely to find schools with dedicated special education programmes, including specialised staff. On the other hand, in these areas demand for such services often outstrips supply and there can be long waiting lists for assessments and specialised support, delaying the assistance your child may need. The shortage of trained support teachers can further limit the effectiveness of such programmes, making it difficult to provide individualised attention.

International Schools and Special Education

While international schools in Switzerland can be a great option for expatriate families due to their English-language instruction, it’s important to note that these schools typically cater only to moderate special needs. They may offer some level of support, such as learning accommodations and individualised education plans (IEPs), but they often lack the specialised resources necessary for more severe or complex needs. Therefore, it’s essential to thoroughly research and communicate with potential schools about the specific requirements of your child.

Working with an Educational Consultant

Given the complexities of navigating SEN provision in a new country, working with a knowledgeable educational consultant on the ground in Switzerland can be invaluable. An experienced consultant can provide insights into the best schools and services in your chosen area, help you understand local regulations and support structures, and advocate for your child’s needs.

Tips for a Smooth Transition

    1. Research Early: Start gathering information about special education services in Switzerland well before your move.

    1. Consult Professionals: Engage with educational consultants and local special education advocates who can guide you through the process.

    1. Build a Support Network: Connect with other expatriate families and local support groups for advice and community support.

Educational Consultants specialising in Special Education Services and Inclusion Support in Switzerland:

Do you have questions about special education provision in public schools or you are not sure whether public or private school is the better option? Get in touch with Stefanie Busse, educational consultant and Swiss school teacher.

If you are looking for guidance on school inclusion support in international schools, contact April Remfrey, the expert for inclusion support at international schools in Switzerland.


Read more about support services in Swiss schools: 
Learning support and pastoral services in local Swiss schools

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