A series of school visits is taking place in Portugal as part of the Agency’s work with the Portuguese Ministry of Education and the European Commission’s Technical Support Instrument (TSI, successor to the Structural Reform Support Programme, SRSP) to design a system to monitor the implementation of Decree-Law No 54/2018 on inclusive education.
The school visits are taking place in the final phase of the TSI work from November 2021 to May 2022, as long as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions allow. The visits will be conducted in school clusters across five regions (North, Centre, Lisbon and Tejo Valley, Algarve, Alentejo). Each cluster consists of a group of schools from pre-primary to upper-secondary level that have a common pedagogical project and share administrative bodies. The first school visit to the artistic school Antonio Arroio in Lisbon took place on 22–25 November 2021.
During the school visits, the Agency team will observe classes and moderate focus group meetings to explore school stakeholders’ perceptions of the education system. A series of standards in the law and indicators that identify their presence in the education system were used in interviews and questionnaires with Ministry of Education officials and regional and school authorities. During the school visits, teachers, teaching assistants, school leaders, parents and learners will also have the chance to give their opinions on these standards and indicators, and the implementation of the inclusive education legislation.
The process will allow the Agency team to confirm how well school stakeholders at all levels understand the monitoring system. This information will help them to modify its design, to ensure that the completed monitoring system is easily and regularly used by Portuguese education stakeholders to verify the functioning of their inclusive education system.