The kick-off meeting for the Agency’s new project Raising the Achievement of all Learners in Inclusive Education was held in Athens on 17–19 June 2014. The project will build on the Agency’s 2012 previous project work on Raising Achievement for all Learners.
The keynote speech was given by Dan Habib from the University of New Hampshire USA. Dan, best known for his film ‘Including Samuel’ talked about the Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) project, which focuses on helping schools to engage in a collaborative process of transformation to achieve both equity and excellence. Some ‘SWIFT IN 60’ films which illustrated key domains and features of SWIFT schools had their world premiere at the conference.
Other inputs were provided by Petra Goran from the European Commission (Unit B1 School Policy), Bengt Persson, Project Consultant from the University of Borås in Sweden, and Agency Director Cor J.W. Meijer.
The project kick-off meeting was held under the Greek Presidency of the EU, where a number of additional participants from Greece joined project experts, including researchers and school leaders from all the Agency member countries.
In addition to opportunities for networking and discussing the project plan and future activities, participants joined workshops on key themes:
- Including Samuel – a personal perspective of the cultural and systemic barriers to inclusion;
- Organisation of Provision to Support Inclusive Education – key findings from the Agency project;
- ICT for Inclusion – implications of recent ICT4I Agency project findings, and
- Inclusive Leadership – challenges and perspectives from the European Policy Network on School Leadership.
Overall, the meeting has provided a good basis for moving forward with project activities during 2015 and 2016. Three ‘learning communities’ from different countries will be supported by the Agency and project experts to investigate key factors in raising the achievement of all learners in inclusive settings, with a particular focus on inclusive pedagogy and school leadership.