Migrant children with Special Educational Needs in European schools – a review of current issues and approaches

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This paper presents findings from an exploratory review of the literature on school approaches and current issues within European schools in relation to migrant children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). 13 papers were identified and analysed and three key ‘journeys’ reflecting the developing and negotiated nature of family and school experiences and practices were identified: the family journey, the school journey and the journey into SEN. The findings emphasise the importance of professionals acknowledging cultural and individual diversity, not only by considering the cultural backgrounds of migrants, but also by critically understanding their own cultural framework and how they use it in their work with families. The review provides a useful reference for future research in this area and for professionals working with diverse communities, by highlighting common practices to be aware of, and by providing evidence that more training is needed of school staff in how to manage and understand migration and diversity in relation to children with SEN.


Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Special Needs Education
Early online date12 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 May 2020


  • Europe, Special educational needs, diversity, migrant children, school approaches