Education regions are responsible for:
- Optimum coordination of appropriate regional education and care provision and development of all-day school types appropriate to need. This should facilitate consistent education pathways for all pupils, regardless of social origin, gender, language, talents, impairment or disability. In accordance with the outcome objectives this should lead to both a higher standard of education and a reduction in educational discrimination.
- Further development of educational quality beyond the individual school or cluster of schools. Cooperation between all schools or clusters of schools in a region is to be developed further in order to identify and exploit structural, organisational and educational potential.
- Evidence-based analysis and ongoing organisation of the transitions between early childhood education institutions, school grades and school types. This also includes educational and careers information, advice and guidance.
- Organisation of cooperation between schools and the regional environment so that the potential of pupils’ interests, abilities and talents, as well as their support and development needs, can be optimally identified and structured across institutions, and flexible regional programmes developed. This includes other educational and advisory institutions, industry, Public Employment Service Austria (AMS), health and social care institutions, associations, children’s and youth welfare services and civil society initiatives, for example.
- Support for the development and professionalisation of schools and teachers at regional level and proposals for creation of education programmes.
Education regions in Austria
Burgenland education region
East education region
West education region
Zwettl education region
Mistelbach education region
Waidhofen/Ybbs education region
Tulln education region
Baden education region
Wiener Neustadt education region
Linz education region
Steyr-Kirchdorf education region
Gmunden-Vöcklabruck education region
Innviertel education region
Wels-Grieskirchen-Eferding education region
Mühlviertel education region
North education region
South education region
Central Styria education region
Eastern Styria education region
Eastern Upper Styria education region
South-west Styria education region
Western Upper Styria education region
South-east Styria education region
Liezen education region
Central Tyrol education region
West Tyrol education region
East Tyrol education region
North education region
South education region
West education region
East education region
Diagram of education regions in Austria (in German only)
Stakeholders and remits in the education regions
The education region is a regional coordination platform and entity which controls cooperation between education system stakeholders. This is why responsibility for arranging the regional coordination and optimisation processes lies with the Board of Education. The schools can also make independent contributions.
Independent regional networking by schools
An individual school’s development is influenced to a certain extent by society. School development always results from interaction with the educational institutions which send out and take in pupils, such as kindergartens and other types of schools. The individual school’s educational provision is also influenced by the education provision of neighbouring schools.
It is therefore each individual school’s responsibility to develop its own education and care programme in consultation with neighbouring schools and to deliberate on its quality and provision for transition from feeder schools and to downstream schools.
The school’s development is not influenced by stakeholders in the educational landscape alone, but also by other regional stakeholders, such as industry, regional associations, social institutions and others.
It is therefore every school’s individual responsibility to ensure regular dialogue with relevant stakeholders. Wider cross-regional, nationwide and international coordination and networking is not affected by this, especially at upper secondary level.
Quality management and school inspection
Quality management’s role is to devise regional strategies, concepts and measures that improve the quality of education and increase equality of opportunity and sexual equality in the region.
The school inspection team therefore has to bear in mind the education programme, the educational processes and pupils’ educational careers in the education region, as well as the educational landscape. As a result it helps to safeguard continuous educational pathways with appropriate educational provision in the region. The region’s differentiated education provision must be developed further and the emphases and profiles at individual schools coordinated within terms of a global, regional concept.
It is also the regional school inspectorate’s remit to shape cooperation between schools and the regional setting and, furthermore, to shape other educational and advisory institutions, industry, Public Employment Service Austria, health and social institutions, children’s and youth welfare services and civil society initiatives.
This cooperation aims for optimal identification of potential interests, abilities and talents, as well as of pupils’ support and development needs across institutions, and development of flexible regional programmes.
Inclusion, diversity and special needs education service
Provision and coordination of support for pupils with special educational and other needs has been newly regulated by section 19 subsection 3, line 2 of the Board of Education Act.
Previously, responsibility lay on the one hand with the management of Special Education Centres (concerning special needs support and inclusive education) and on the other the School Inspector was responsible for other support (language support, development of abilities, gender-specific issues, etc.).
State teaching staff previously assumed responsibility for Special Education Centres. The other areas of support were previously coordinated by federal employees in the role of School Inspector (district school inspectors and inspectors of compulsory schools).
A new specialist service for inclusion, diversity and special needs education (Fachbereich für Inklusion, Diversität und Sonderpädagogik – FIDS), whose experts are represented in the regional education department, has been created within the Board of Education: the Board of Education combines provision and coordination of support for special educational needs and other areas of support, such as support for gifted and talented pupils, including care of the additional teaching staff deployed for these pupils.
Human Resources department
Employees of the Human Resources department(s) plan and manage deployment of federal and regional teaching staff in the regions, organise their pay, implement administrative HR measures under employment law (including advertising jobs, recruiting new teachers, relocation and allocation of jobs) and provide advice on the issues mentioned. The department(s) is/are furthermore responsible for all evaluation in the area of teaching staff.
Only when all the stakeholders are networked at education region level can regional educational provision be strengthened and integrated management of teaching staff resources achieved. Regional bundling of human resources management can ensure optimum support for, administration and management of school clusters or schools in terms of a regional one-stop-shop principle, so that all the bureaucratic steps necessary to achieve an objective can be performed in one place.
With reference to section 18 subsection 7 BD-EG, the School Psychology Service, which reports to the Executive Committee, is the central organisational unit for educational psychological advice and provision and coordination of psychosocial support. The current 76 school psychology advice centres are to be merged in each education region to form a school psychology advice service based in the branch office.
The psychosocial support staff (school doctors, school social workers, social pedagogues) permanently allocated to specific schools by the Board of Education are supervised by the respective school leadership team. Specialist supervision is carried out by the School Psychology and School Medical Service. For specialists based outside the school (out-of-school providers), the Board of Education concludes cooperation agreements, which are to be guided by a national quality framework, with the respective service provider. This quality framework is to be developed within the national specifications in this regard (see Circular no. 28/2018) by an expert coordinating committee for the field of psychosocial and special educational needs support, to be established within the Board of Education, in consultation with children’s and youth welfare services and the Austrian Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection’s office.
It was previously incumbent upon the School Inspectorate for compulsory schooling to pilot 40-80 schools per School Inspector. The regional School Inspectorate will still be responsible for a large number of schools in future. From the 2019/20 academic year, however, schools are supposed to form education networks. These are platforms for dialogue between 5-10 school leadership teams in the immediate vicinity. Education networks fulfil two functions: firstly, they promote the use by schools of their autonomous scope (and therefore individual school development) by discussing the school’s own experiences of school development with neighbouring schools. Secondly, the intention is that the School Inspectorate will introduce reforms into the regulatory system through the education networks. The School Inspectorate is responsible for managing the networks.