The European Commission’s Working Groups are contributing to the development of the European Education Area. The Agency is part of three of these Working Groups, including the Working Groups on Schools and on Equity and Values in Education and Training, which came together for a joint meeting in Brussels on 26 October.
During the meeting, the Agency’s Assistant Director, Amanda Watkins, presented a paper, entitled ‘Special Educational Needs? Working towards more flexible systems of support to meet all learners’ needs’. The paper, which the Agency developed especially for the meeting, discusses the differences between special educational needs and inclusive education. It also presents some of the key components of an inclusive education system, such as the use of flexible resource allocation models and targeted measures to support diverse learner needs. It provided a conceptual background to the meeting.
In addition to the paper, the Agency presented on the topics of data collection, funding and resource allocation. These are explored in detail in Agency work, including in the European Agency Statistics on Inclusive Education (EASIE) and Financing Policies for Inclusive Education Systems (FPIES) activities.
Following the presentations, meeting participants discussed the concepts in more detail in break-out sessions. They considered the approach to specialist provision in their countries, and how individual learner needs are identified. They also discussed how financing of education is currently organised in their countries and what challenges educational institutions face in acquiring the resources they need for individualised learning support.
The Agency’s input paper is available on the Equality and Values Working Group webpage. The Commission website contains more information on all the Working Groups. A recently published Issue Paper on tackling different forms of discrimination in and through education and training is available from the Publications Office of the European Union.