Putting students first: an investigation into access to adapted educational services for elementary-school students

  • June 13, 2022
  • Education, Family, Troubled youth
Rapport L'élève avant tout

Every student has the right to educational services that foster their success. The Québec Ombudsman investigated to determine whether the services provided to special-needs students are responsive.

Adapting educational services, in a nutshell

Findings of the investigation

The Québec Ombudsman is worried about the difficulties students with special learning or adaptation needs have accessing adapted services. Here are its main findings.

1. Services are not always based on student needs.

Instead of being established based on students’ real needs, the services provided are often limited by financial constraints. The Ministère de l’Éducation also asks specialized staff to account for a portion of the amounts issued. While bogged down in paperwork, staff are not always available to offer services to the students.

2. Not enough specialized staff

There are not always enough specialized staff in schools to meet the needs of all students. This means that some students have a long wait before they receive services that are necessary. For others, the services are provided by staff who don’t have the best training for the job.

3. Lack of collaboration among those involved.

To foster student success, every member of the school team must play their role and coordinate their actions. However, ideal work conditions rarely exist.

4. The professional development of teaching staff stands to be improved.

Teaching staff play an important role in early screening for difficulties students may have. To do this, they must have a firm grasp of special student needs. However, university training in education has little to say about this subject.


The Québec Ombudsman made several recommendations to the Ministère de l’Éducation, including:

Read the report’s summary: Putting students first (PDF, 173 KiB)

Read the full report, including the summary (in French only): L’élève avant tout : pour des services adaptés aux besoins des élèves en difficulté d’adaptation ou d’apprentissage (PDF, 983 KiB)