There is a global trend towards including children with special needs in mainstream schools instead of placing them in special schools. However, the numbers of students in special schools varies greatly among regions due to variations in educational systems, funding arrangements – and the incentives that are associated with these arrangements – and demographic trends. In the Netherlands, a new policy aimed at inclusive education was introduced in 2014, together with financial measures to equalise funding for students with special needs across the country. The present study explored the effects of this equalisation policy, as well as the demographic trend of population decline, on dropout rates and participation rates in special education (namely, special schools for mainstream education and schools for special education).
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