Special Education

Before the Compulsory Education Act of 1974, only selected groups of students with disabilities, such as deaf and blind students, received any formal special education, although students with mild disabilities had been accommodated at rural schools since 1907. With the changes in the law, a special school was opened in Reykjavik for students with mental retardation, and similar programs followed. Students with physical disabilities were mainstreamed into regular classrooms. The Iceland University of Education developed programs to train teachers and other specialists to provide appropriate services.

Reflecting Icelandic cultural values of tolerance, equity, and celebrating differences rather than individualism, current government policy emphasizes inclusion, or "one school for all", although segregated classrooms and schools are still permitted and supported.

The Education Law on Upper Secondary Education of 1992 entitles students to attend schools and university, and to receive appropriate supports for doing so, but does not exempt them from the normal entrance requirements, such as demonstrating a given level of reading or mathematics achievement. Consequently, after reaching the end of compulsory school age, it is difficult for students with significant cognitive impairments to find further education.