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Evaluation of Assignment Rates to Special Needs Schools in Winterthur-Stadt

Background and aims

There has been a recent increase in assignment rates to special needs schools in the city of Winterthur. The demand for places at integrated special needs schools and special needs day schools has grown. This development – a more than 29% increase on last year – is at odds with city of Winterthur's integration efforts and the intentions of the canton of Zurich's new education laws. Current needs have to be satisfied by a regulation focusing on integration.

The task of the study was to develop indicators for the improved control of assignment and admission procedures and to draw conclusions with regard to intervention and prevention at the early education, kindergarten and lower secondary school levels – and this exactly because there is no real information regarding the reasons behind this increased number of assignments.


The project took place in three phases:

  1. Focus group interview 1 to elicit the perspectives of those involved
  2. Case analysis to investigate the assessment, assignment and admission procedures
  3. Focus group interview 2 for validation purposes and result assurance


There are no indications that the increase in assignment rates expresses a new quality of special educational needs or an increase in pupils with complex problems or similar. In point of fact, it appears that we are dealing with a system or transition effect. Deducible measure proposals include the strengthening of the specialist and schoolhouse teams, the communication of best practice and an examination of the current small class structure. The final report contains the findings and recommendations presented in detail (see below: published with kind permission of the commissioning body)



Project Management

Ehemaliger Leiter Forschung und Entwicklung

Project team


Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at] zfe