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SOS-Network: Social Inclusion of students/learners with special needs into mainstream VET and labour market

The SOS network is a practitioner’s community which contributes to the social inclusiveness of disadvantaged learners or those with special needs. The website is a platform for teachers, trainers and other professionals from all over Europe who share good practices and experiences of inclusive education.

Toolkits and tools
An international network funded through the Lifelong Learning Programme.

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Practitioners and possibly policy makers 

Guidance on what works (to help improve the design of policies and practices).

The SOS network is a practitioner’s community which wants to contribute to the social inclusiveness of students with special needs and disadvantages. The website is a platform for teachers, trainers and other professionals from all over Europe on which to share good practices and experiences of inclusive education. The website is divided in various sections, namely:

  • Identifying barriers/ reasons for early leaving - in this section, practitioners share difficult situations with students and describe which actions were undertaken to avoid dropping out.
  • Methods and tools (see below – repository of methods and tools).
  • Resources (providing EU-level reports, examples of measures).
  • Interesting stories: presents different kinds of approaches to students/learners with special needs in different learning environments.   

Repository of methods and tools

This is a repository of methods and tools from different countries, rated both by the SOS Network team and by the users on a scale ranging from "poor" (0) to "excellent" (5). Note that the rates of users are based on a low number of votes (2 or 3). The tools presented are extremely diverse and target different groups (e.g. those at risk of dropping out, students with special needs, the unemployed, migrant learners, Roma, etc.) and concern different types of education (general, VET, etc.).

The repository is not structured (no search by topic or target group, for instance) – it is thus difficult to find the most relevant/useful tool.

For each tool presented, there is a detailed description of the tool, its context and links to resources available.

The following are some examples of the highest rated tools:

  • Peer led learning: peer-led learning is a way to teach and to increase students’ socialization as well as their self-esteem, self-evaluation skills and self-awareness. Peer education a term widely used to describe a range of initiatives in which young people with a similar age, background, culture and/or social status, teach and inform each other about a wide variety of issues and experiences. The result is an increase in one’s awareness of being useful and one’s ability to help other people as well as develop participation skills, increases knowledge, attitudes, self-esteem and confidence. A catalogue of 15 best practices examples from different EU-countries is provided with more details on how the approach was implemented in different contexts.
  • Internship in a company for students with special needs: a VET school provides guidance on how to ensure ways to place students with special needs in a company in which the employees understand the student´s situation.
  • Work experiences: presents methods to motivate at-risk students in VET and to find out which of their skills and abilities are suitable for their preferred profession and also to receive some practical work experience.

It is a collection of tools/provided by those who implemented them.