The eBulletin presents updates and news on projects from the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education and its member countries.
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Agency eBulletin May 2020

This eBulletin brings you news of the Agency’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.

In addition, there are publications from the Preventing School Failure project and the European Agency Statistics on Inclusive Education (EASIE) data collection activities. You can read updates on the Supporting Inclusive School Leadership, Changing Role of Specialist Provision and Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion projects. There is a recent video presentation by the Agency Director which provides more information about the Agency’s work and goals. You can also find out about the Inclusive Education in Action website and case studies.

A new tool on the Agency website offers accessibility enhancements and automated translation in a wide range of languages.

There’s an update on the Agency’s collaboration with the European Union’s Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP), as well as news about Agency participation in an event with the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE). Finally, read about the ‘Europe Begins in Lampedusa’ commemoration events and a social welfare programme at a Greek university.

For more news from the Agency, visit the News section

European Agency COVID-19 precautions and measures

The Agency continues to closely monitor developments surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic. National governments are implementing new precautionary and responsive measures on a daily basis to address this crisis.

The health and safety of our community is our highest priority during this challenging time. Within the Agency, we have implemented a series of internal measures consistent with official guidelines. For details of these measures, visit the Agency website

This is a time for solidarity, unity and decisive action. The Agency will continue to act in the best interests of its community.

We urge everyone to follow official recommendations aiming to slow the spread of COVID-19. We will provide necessary updates as the situation evolves; in the meantime, we wish you and your families safety, health and strength.

Updates on Agency projects and publications

Preventing School Failure: Project findings and publications

PSF project logoThe Agency has published three project outputs resulting from the activities of the Preventing School Failure (PSF) project, which has recently come to an end.

The PSF project examined the evidence to suggest that inclusive education policies have the potential to prevent school failure at both system and individual levels. The project  reviewed and analysed European and international research and policy literature. A survey collected information from 14 Agency member countries, in an effort to identify and examine existing national policy measures for preventing school failure.

The project suggests a comprehensive policy framework for preventing school failure. This includes several inclusive policy actions that can help countries make progress towards preventing school failure.

The project activities resulted in three inter-connected project outputs aimed at national, regional and local policy-makers for inclusive education:

Learn more about the project and its outputs on the news pages.

EASIE 2018 Cross-Country Report

EASIE project logoThe European Agency Statistics on Inclusive Education (EASIE) 2018 Cross-Country Report is now available on the Agency website.

The 2018 Cross-Country Report brings together data collected from 32 Agency member countries and regions in the 2018 EASIE dataset. The data is for the 2016/2017 school year and covers pre-primary education (International Standard Classification of Education, ISCED, level 02), compulsory education (ISCED levels 1 and 2) and upper‑secondary education (ISCED level 3).

The Cross-Country Report presents the data visually, using charts to display the information alongside descriptions of the calculations and their findings. The cross-country format can be used to inform national and European-level policy and the work of decision-makers in the field of inclusive education.

For more information, visit the Agency website.

Supporting Inclusive School Leadership: Phase 2 scoping meeting

SISL project logoIn February, the Supporting Inclusive School Leadership (SISL) project team met in Brussels to discuss the content and structure of phase 2 of the project, following the publication of the phase 1 synthesis report.

The SISL project builds on existing Agency and wider European and international work. It investigates how to develop and promote inclusive school-level leadership through national- and local-level policy frameworks and support mechanisms.

Find out more about the meeting and the project in the news item on the Agency website.

The Changing Role of Specialist Provision in Supporting Inclusive Education: Project update

CROSP project logoThe Changing Role of Specialist Provision in Supporting Inclusive Education (CROSP) project focuses on the shift in the role of specialist, separate schools, classes and units towards supporting mainstream provision to meet the needs of all learners. Concentrating on compulsory education, the project explores country policy and practice and how they can influence the reform of specialist provision towards inclusive education.

In February 2020, the CROSP Project Advisory Group finalised the project’s methodological framework. The methodology is based on a peer learning approach and involves a series of thematic workshops in the second phase of CROSP project activities. During the workshops, countries will engage in a collaborative review and self-reflection process, supporting each other to improve their policies. The methodology includes each participating country’s priority themes and a set of questions for each thematic working group. It is based on discussions, issues raised and proposals made during a previous scoping meeting, as well as the main findings of the CROSP Phase 1 synthesis report.

More information about the project is available in the CROSP web area.

Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion: Project update

TPL4I project logoThe Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion (TPL4I) project sets out to explore key aspects of teacher education and how teachers can be effectively prepared to include all learners. The Agency aims to include all its member countries in the project, exploring national policies on teacher professional learning for inclusion.

A Literature Review and a Policy Self-Review Tool from the project were published in 2019. They are available in print and electronic formats.

The project’s Policy Mapping Activity was completed in April 2020. The policy mapping grids of all participating countries will be published on the Agency website in the coming weeks.

In 2020, three more project outputs will be produced and made available on the Agency website:

  • Project Methodology: this will describe all the steps taken in the design and implementation of the project;
  • Synthesis Report: this will present the trends and gaps in teacher professional learning for inclusion, followed by examples from national policies;
  • Project Summary Report: a short document that will summarise the main findings of the project.

More information about the project is available on the TPL4I project web area.

Agency and country updates

New accessibility and translation tool on the Agency website

The Agency aims to offer an accessible experience for visitors to its website. This involves following current accessibility standards and continuously making improvements. As part of these efforts, the Agency has recently introduced a new accessibility and translation toolbar called Recite Me, which is now available by clicking the ‘Accessibility and translation’ button at the top of the website.

The new Recite Me toolbar offers a variety of translation and accessibility-related functions. These include the ability to play and download text-to-speech audio in multiple languages, change font type and size and use a magnifying glass to enlarge text, among other things.

The new translation function automatically converts text on the website and in downloadable documents into the selected language using machine translation. Because the translation and text-to-speech features are automated, there may be inaccuracies and inconsistencies. If in doubt, please refer to the English version of the website.

The Accessibility page contains further details about Recite Me and the website in general. 

The image below displays the Recite Me accessibility toolbar, which displays a series of square icons for each feature.

Recite Me toolbar. Square icons represent features.

Inclusive Education in Action case studies

IEA logoThe Inclusive Education in Action website presents a collection of important and interesting case studies and resources from different areas of the world. There are now 24 case studies accessible on the website from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Pacific. They describe diverse policy approaches taken to develop inclusive education systems.

The case studies provide insights into inclusive education systems for international policy-makers working to develop equity and equal opportunities within education systems globally.

The Inclusive Education in Action website, which is operated jointly with UNESCO, has an open call for case studies. New case studies which present material on key policy development towards inclusive education from all regions and countries are welcomed for consideration.

For more information on the Inclusive Education in Action website and case studies, read the Agency news item.

Video: Inclusive Education in an International Perspective

A recent Agency video contains key messages from Agency Director Cor J. W. Meijer’s presentation at Eötvös Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, in November 2019. The presentation is entitled ‘Inclusive Education in an International Perspective’.

In his presentation, Mr Meijer describes the Agency and its work, including its involvement in European and international projects and collaborations, such as work with the European Union’s Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP). Mr Meijer also discusses the importance of inclusive education as a whole. 

The video is available in the Multimedia section of the Agency website.

Agency participation in the European Union's Structural Reform Support Programme

The Agency continues to work within the European Union's Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP). In co-operation with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support and the ministries of education in Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece and Poland, the initiative aims to promote and improve the countries’ inclusive education systems.

SRSP stakeholder consultation on key issues for improving quality inclusive education in Poland

As part of the Supporting the Improvement of Quality in Inclusive Education in Poland project – funded by the SRSP and implemented in co-operation with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Structural Reform Support (DG Reform) – the Agency has contributed to a series of three Regional Consultation meetings in Lublin, Kraków and Katowice.

Each meeting was co-hosted by the Regional Educational Authorities and the Polish Ministry of National Education (MEN). Local schools and universities were also involved in the organisation of the meetings. The visiting delegation included a representative of the DG Reform and Agency staff members.

Find out more about the meetings on the Agency website.

Agency participation in ETUCE Standing Committee for Equality

The Standing Committee for Equality is a consultative body for the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE). It works to ensure recommendations and priorities around equal opportunities in education move forward. It is made up of representatives of 132 education trade unions from across Europe.

As part of a two-year project entitled ‘Education Trade Unions and Inclusive Schools: Embracing Diversity in Education’, the Standing Committee held a conference on Diversity and Inclusion in February. The aim of the conference, which took place in Brussels, Belgium, was to discuss and agree on the ETUCE Action Plan for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. 

The Agency was invited to take part in the conference as an expert in a panel discussion entitled ‘It’s not just about equality: The impact of political developments and discourses on inclusion in education and in the society’. Agency representative Annet de Vroey explained how policy and legislation can impact the challenges and barriers faced by learners with special educational needs across Europe.

Find out more about the conference and the presentations on the Agency news page.

Europe begins in Lampedusa 2020

The Agency continued its involvement in the ‘Europe Begins in Lampedusa’ project by hosting a meeting for stakeholders at the Agency’s office in Brussels.

The project is organised by non-profit organisation Comitato 3 Ottobre, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Education and the Lampedusa and Linosa municipality. The project aims to increase young people’s awareness of migration, cultural reception and human rights. It commemorates the 3 October 2013, when 368 migrants died in a shipwreck just off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Find out more about the project and the meeting in the news item.

Participants in the Europe Begins in Lampedusa event at the European Parliament
Participants in the Europe Begins in Lampedusa event at the European Parliament

Europe Social Welfare Programme at the University of Patras, Greece

A Social Welfare programme at the University of Patras, Greece, provides equal opportunities for learners from vulnerable social groups to enable them to complete their studies.

The programme was established in October 2018 as an outcome of the conference on Inclusive Education in Higher Education held at the University in 2016. The conference, which was supported by the Greek Ministry of Education, presented the European and international agenda for inclusive education and its principles. At the conference, Agency representatives presented the importance of inclusive legislation, policy and accessible information.

The resulting Social Welfare programme, EKO, which is co-funded by the European Social Fund, supports learners by offering a variety of services to prevent and tackle a range of difficulties. Find out more about the programme on the Agency news pages.

The EKO Programme is co-funded by the European Social Fund
The EKO Programme is co-funded by the European Social Fund
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