Special report — Putting students first: For adapted educational services for students with special learning and adjustment needs

  • June 13, 2022

Québec City, June 13, 2022 – Today, Québec Ombudsman Marc-André Dowd released the Putting students first investigation report, which describes the slate of student services, their organization and their funding for elementary-school students with special learning and adaptation needs. At the end of an investigation into the access of students to responsive educational services in the public school system, the Québec Ombudsman made 11 recommendations to the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec (MÉQ).

"At a crucial stage in their development, elementary-school students don’t get all the attention they need from the school system to foster their educational success. While 'waiting their turn' for the services they have a legal right to, they don’t progress as they should and their academic delays persist, stopping them from advancing through the system and hindering their personal and social growth," said Marc-André Dowd.

The Québec Ombudsman noted a disconnect between real needs and the resources for meeting them, as well as significant risk of failure to respect the rights of students to the special services that are necessary for them. These services, notably, remedial education, psychoeducation, speech therapy, specialized education and psychology services, make it possible to integrate students with special learning or adjustment needs into mainstream classes.

Services that are not always aligned with the real needs of students

Recognized student needs must be the centrepiece of the slate of student services, but this is not what we see in the real world.

Staff shortages

There are not always enough student services staff available in schools to provide the required services in a timely fashion. When this happens, choices with serious consequences must be made.

Faulty collaboration

The conditions that would enable collaboration among the various players, which is crucial to student success, are not always there.

Professional development that needs improving

Teachers’ university training is such that only certain competencies that make it possible to handle a mixed classroom are developed—and only partially. As a result, professional development is essential so that teachers have the skills for addressing the special learning or adjustment needs of students.

The Québec Ombudsman’s recommendations

Access to services for students with special learning or adjustment needs is not only crucial to their educational success, but it is built into the Education Act.

Here are the Québec Ombudsman’s main recommendations:

"When it comes to children, access to knowledge, adapted education and prospects for the future are individual and collective issues that are major. Québec has put the educational success of students at the very centre of the public school system. Every student has the right to succeed, and we must give them ways to do this," the Ombudsman added.

For more information, read the report summary (PDF, 173 KiB), the highlights of the report (in French only, PDF, 149 KiB) or the full report (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)

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Media Relations:
Carole-Anne Huot
Phone: (418) 646-7143/Cell: (418) 925-7994
Email: carole-anne.huot@protecteurducitoyen.qc.ca