On the 6th of December, in the frame of the 2019 LLLWeek, the “Inclusion at schools: from policy to practice” (agenda) event took place at VLEVA, the Liaison agency Flanders-Europe. It was organised by LLLP with the support of Inscool project partners and EVBB, the European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training.
See the pictures here.
The first part of the event was a policy roundtable, where invited speakers shared their insights on how to build European inclusive schools communities, and how to develop and implement inclusive strategies within EU schools for educating the citizens of tomorrow. For Sian Williams from British Council and author of Inscool educational pack, inclusion in schools is not one single concept, but a collection of ideas; it cannot be addressed by one single event, but is a series of steps in a complex, long-term journey. Ms Williams also provided a detailed overview of the INSCOOL project.
Find her presentation (ppt) of Inscool here.
From a school heads perspective, from Edwin Katerberg from the European School Heads Association (ESHA) it is important that there are inclusive provisions for students, a real engagement with parents and the wider community – a whole school approach. Edwin Katerberg presented four European projects that contribute to building inclusion in schools: Gender Equality Matters, Open Schools for Open Societies, Reflecting 4 Change, and Multinclude – Ideas for Inclusive Education.
Find his presentation (ppt) here.
Donatella Inferrera, from San Francesco di Sales Institute in Italy, gave her perspective as an Economy and Human Rights teacher. The San Francesco di Sales Institute is located in Sicily, a major arrival point for migrants; the school approach in promoting their inclusion is based on meeting them in reception centres and listening to their stories and needs. As a good example of this approach, one migrant is now an Arabic teacher in the school and has enriched the environment with his culture; in the end we recognise the “Other” as different because of cultural differences, but we are really the same because we share the same humanity. Ms Inferrera emphasised the need to think about the role of teachers specifically, who often lack time to address inclusion in a targeted way, due to the requirements of the curriculum.
For Michael Teutsch, from DG EAC Schools and Multilingualism Unit, the complexity of inclusion is centred around three main elements: access, treatment in schools and results; for instance, the issue of segregation and legal provisions that limit access to mainstream schools for students with disabilities, or the need to adapt teaching and learning practices to individual needs, or how PISA results show the influence of socio-economic background in learning achievements. A good answer to these issues is to provide the right incentives to schools and then let them work through the process themselves.
The following debate, facilitated by Viola Pinzi from European Schoolnet, highlighted the importance of mainstreaming good practices that come from enthusiastic teachers and individuals, and at the same time improving the coordination between EU funded projects, in order to avoid duplicated work. As on the process of inclusion, it has to start at a very early students’ age, without forgetting that diversity has already been a part of our societies for a very long time.
The second part of the event was a “Living Library”, where projects on the topic of inclusion in schools were presented to participants by the European Parents Association (EPA), European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network, Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU), European Forum for Freedom in Education (effe), National association of professionals working with people with disabilities in Bulgaria, and Brussels-based vocational school Athénée Royale de la Rive Gauche.