This glossary is a collection of terms and their operational definitions as they were used in a variety of Agency activities. You can use the filter to search and select the terms you want to see based on their place in the alphabet or the activities that they are related to.



P-I-C (Prevention-Intervention-Compensation) model

Inclusive education systems are most effectively supported by a complementary combination of prevention, intervention and compensation policy actions. The goal of inclusive education systems is supported by policy actions that are aimed at:

  • Prevention – policy initiatives that aim to avoid educational exclusion and longer-term social exclusion, before these issues emerge (for example, anti-discrimination legislation promoting a rights approach, avoidance of disabling policies that lead to gaps in provision, lack of qualifications, etc.).
  • Intervention – policy initiatives that support the effective implementation of inclusive education (for example, the existence of clear policies leading to high-quality flexible support systems for mainstream education).
  • Compensation – policy initiatives that address the inability of legislation and/or provision to support meaningful inclusive education for all learners (for example, separate educational programmes or provision, support for failing schools, second-chance educational programmes) (European Agency, 2018, p. 19).

Partial integration

‘Partial integration’ means that some learners are partially educated in a mainstream class (for subjects mastered through mainstream programmes) and partially educated in a special class (for subjects mastered through intensified teaching or special programmes). Here, the learner belongs to a mainstream class, with the special class offering regular sessions for some form of special programme (European Agency, 2019b, p. 22).

(See also ‘Integration’)


UNICEF describes participation as:

… an ongoing process of children’s expression and active involvement in decision-making at different levels in matters that concern them, requiring information-sharing and dialogue between children/adolescents and adults based on mutual respect, and … [requiring] that full consideration of their views be given, taking into account the child’s age and maturity (2013, p. 7).

Like educational inclusion, participation is often seen as a human rights issue and an essential component of social justice (European Agency, 2011).

Participation is about the quality of the learning experience from a learner perspective, and therefore it must incorporate the views of the learners themselves. … It relates to school-level process factors which facilitate or hinder a sense of belonging and a sense of autonomy to the learner, as well as a sense of a meaningful participation with peers of the same age. As such, participation mainly refers to processes at the meso (school or classroom) and micro (individual learner) levels (Ramberg and Watkins, 2020, p. 90).

(See also ‘Meaningful participation’)

Participatory design (co-design)

A process that includes stakeholders in the early stages of design. This involvement of stakeholders and end-users together allows the design to be more open and lends itself to user-centred design (adapted from Rosenzweig, 2015).


Pedagogy encompasses:

… teachers’ attitudes, beliefs and ideas, as well as their knowledge and understanding of the teaching and learning process and the diversity of learners – all of which impact on their practice in the classroom. This includes for example:

  • communication and social interaction (with and between learners);
  • visual methods to support learning;
  • organising tasks to engage learners;
  • monitoring and using feedback for further planning;
  • formative and summative assessment of learners (involving learners themselves).

Pedagogy ‘acknowledges the importance of relationships’ and ‘sees teachers working alongside learners with concern for their holistic development and well-being’ (European Agency, 2015e, p. 10).

Peer counselling

In the context of education co-operation at European Union level, peer counselling is an instrument/process that:

… brings together professional peers from a small number of national administrations to provide external advice to a country in the process of a policy development. It is intended to go beyond information-sharing and provide a forum for finding solutions to national challenges in a participatory workshop (European Commission, 2018d, p. 1).

Peer learning

In the context of education co-operation at European Union level, peer learning is:

… a method of observing both positive and negative examples of policy reforms adopted in other countries in order to draw lessons from them. Its strength lies in the contextualisation of policies, broadness and flexibility of discussion themes, qualitative nature of information and low levels of politicisation based on mutual trust between the Member States (European Commission, 2018d, p. 1).

Personalisation / personalised learning

A process of tailoring education to a learner’s current situation, characteristics and needs to help achieve the best possible progress and outcomes. Personalised learning can include personalising the curriculum, courses, learning materials and activities, and different forms of learning support. Each learner is provided with education that is tailored to their individual characteristics and needs. They learn in a way that is most suitable for them, resulting in different learning experiences for each learner (Adapted from Seel, 2012 in UNESCO-IBE, Glossary of Curriculum Terminology).

Personalisation involves working closely with parents and families to address any support requirements holistically. Personalisation is not ‘individualisation of learning’, which is essentially a teacher-driven action. Learner participation and involvement in decision-making is crucial to distinguishing between the two approaches. Personalisation requires learners to reflect in an interactive process – co-creating learning with the teacher but, over time, taking increasing responsibility and managing their own learning (within the framework of the country’s curriculum and standards) (European Agency, 2012b).


Policy refers to a stated course or principle of action that is either adopted or proposed in order to meet goals, aims and objectives. It is written in official documents to direct the implementation of agreed actions.

Policy and legislation are connected, but distinct. Legislation outlines the requirements and policy then details the framework for ensuring that the requirements are put into action. The implementation of actions then needs to be guided by supporting policy documents (rules, guidelines, guidance materials, etc.).

Policy framework

A policy framework brings together policies/policy elements that set out the requirements and processes for reaching policy goals in line with national/organisational values and principles. A policy framework outlines roles and responsibilities for policy development, stakeholder engagement, implementation, dissemination, monitoring/evaluation, governance and operational processes (European Agency, 2018d, p. 17).

Policy Guidelines suggested actions

The UNESCO (2009) Policy Guidelines set out policy concerns, policy questions, gaps to be resolved and suggested actions. The suggested actions are the focus of the Inclusive Education in Action project.

Policy pilot

A ‘test run’, the results of which will help to influence the shape and delivery of the final policy.

Policy roll-out

The extent to which one can generalise from the results of any pilot study to a larger class of cases.

Pre-primary education

Pre-primary education (International Standard Classification of Education – ISCED – 0) is:

… the initial stage of organised instruction … designed primarily to introduce very young children to a school-type environment, i.e. to provide a bridge between the home and a school-based atmosphere. Upon completion of these programmes, children continue their education at level 1 (primary education).

ISCED level 0 programmes are usually school-based or otherwise institutionalised for a group of children (e.g. centre-based, community-based, home-based).

Early childhood educational development (ISCED level 010) has educational content designed for younger children (in the age range of 0 to 2 years). Pre-primary education (ISCED level 020) is designed for children aged at least 3 years (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2020, p. 275).

Print disability / impaired

Persons who ‘are not able to use the printed books, newspapers, and magazines – including those with dyslexia, motor disabilities or age-related macular degeneration’ (DAISY, 2015b).

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