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European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education

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1 European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education
Potential contribution of Inclusive Education in fighting ESL and preparing for the labour market Harald Weber JOINT Public Hearing on The reform of educational systems in Europe as a way to fight early school leaving, child poverty and youth unemployment 26 February 2015, , European Parliament, Brussels

2 European Agency Focus (1)
National networks in 29 European countries The Agency’s main focus is upon inclusive education within its widest interpretation – that is dealing with learner difference and diversity in all educational settings as a quality issue The Agency’s work is essentially concerned with how the achievement of all learners at all levels of inclusive lifelong learning can be improved in a meaningful way that enhances their opportunities for an effective participation in society

3 European Agency Focus (2)
In order to account for the heterogeneity of contexts and approaches in member countries, Agency projects and activities take a broad view of inclusive education as a systemic approach to meeting the needs of all learners, with a specific focus on the pupils identified as having special educational needs (SEN)

4 Common views Reducing school failure has a positive impact both on society and on individuals. The highest performing education systems across OECD countries are those that combine quality with equity [2] Rather than looking at individual support, systems of support should aim to increase schools’ capability to meet the requirements of all learners • Inclusive systems should develop forms of teaching and learning that enable all learners to participate fully in the learning process and prevent them from dropping out of school

5 Governance and cooperation
Report Governance and cross-sectoral cooperation Collaborative policy and practice Key actors include policy makers, educational authorities, parents, pupils, teachers and their representative associations Strong coordination and cooperation between national, regional and local actors required ([1] p 13) Key representatives from policy fields such as employment, youth, health, welfare and social policy need to be involved in a collective approach to reducing ESL from the start ([1] p 14) Services should be provided in local communities through close collaboration – in policy and practice – between education, health, social services and other agencies Co-operation and networking are needed at all levels – national, local area, school and classroom – between all stakeholders, learners and families [3]

6 Improvement processes based on evidence
Report Data collection towards evidence-based policies Inclusive accountability Transparency of data beneficial in encouraging cooperation between national, regional, local, school levels Publication and analysis of data followed by concrete measures Support to local authorities, stakeholders and schools to help them continuously improve their practice ([1] p 17) Strong leadership and careful planning of, i.a., external monitoring and opportunities for self-reflection ([1] p 20) Approaches to system and school accountability should include a strong element of self and/or peer review Empower stakeholders to see accountability as professionally owned rather than externally imposed To move towards greater equity in education, a variety of performance indicators are needed Such developments should measure what is valuable for all learners to ensure consistency and reinforce inclusive values and practice [3]

7 Whole school approaches Support for school and system leaders
Leadership Report Whole school approaches Support for school and system leaders Learners require environments that are welcoming, open, safe, and friendly, where pupils feel noticed, valued and part of a community Provide opportunities to help learners build confidence and develop a desire for learning (p18) Encourage and support positive and caring relationships for and between teachers, school staff, pupils ([1] p 20) Vision and competences to establish a positive ethos and provide appropriate leadership for inclusive practice Planning to meet the diverse needs of all is integral part of the whole area/school development process Move away from top down leadership towards distributed leadership that emphasises teamwork and collaborative problem solving [3]

8 Quality through participation
Report Involvement of pupils and parents Stakeholder involvement Special attention to involving pupils and parents and their representatives in the planning and implementation of measures to reduce ESL ([1] p 15) Involvement of parents in school decision-making is essential to ensure conducive and supportive learning environments ([1] p 20) Parents need to be supported in their engagement with school education, be strongly encouraged to get involved and responsible for their children's school attendance and education ([1] p 15) The voice of the learner is key in shaping all policy and practice Working more closely with parents and families to address support requirements in a more holistic way [3] Strategies to encourage parents’ active involvement in their children’s learning process Involvement of labour market representatives in school procedures (e.g. examinations) and/or structures (e.g. school boards) [4]

9 Professional development
Report Initial and continuous education for education staff Professional development for inclusive education Schools/teachers should be equipped with skills, expertise and resources to provide all pupils with the learning support they require ([1] p 18) High quality teaching and learning calls for the continuous professional development of teaching staff Teachers should be supported in dealing with diversity and supporting individuals with special learning needs and/or learning disabilities Teachers need the skills and ability to work with other professions and partners to prevent ESL ([1] p 20) Teachers must be active agents in any system/school change Teacher competences should be addressed through both initial teacher education and continuing professional development Four areas of competence: valuing learner diversity, supporting all learners, working with others and personal professional development All teachers must develop the necessary values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and understanding [6]

10 Curricula and pedagogy
Report Engaging curricula and learner-centred approaches Pedagogical approaches for all Relevant and engaging curricula that can motivate pupils to fully develop their strengths and talents ([1] p 19) Adopting a learner-centred approach in teacher education with a focus on diversity and inclusion is recommended Teachers should be capable of identifying different learning styles and pupils’ needs and be equipped with the skills to adopt inclusive and student-focused methods, including conflict resolution skills to promote a positive classroom climate ([1] p 20) Shift from an approach that works for most learners (with something additional to or different from for some) to an approach that involves ‘the development of a rich learning community characterized by learning opportunities that are sufficiently made available for everyone’ [5] Using pedagogical approaches that have proven to benefit all learners, for example team teaching and peer assisted learning [3]

11 Transition to the labour market
Report High quality, attractive and engaging VET Resilient networks between schools, VET and labour market High quality VET provides opportunities for all at an early stage to explore and learn more about the world of work and ease transition ([1] p 21) It is important that high quality VET allows progression to HE Reduce ESL through the provision of high quality, structured work-based learning opportunities in VET ([1] p 19-20) Respect and reflect learners’ individual wishes and expectations in each step of the transition process Provide real VET options for learners to choose from (e.g. different pathways, qualification levels) Career counsellors/officers to inform learners about employment possibilities, support them with job applications, inform and support employers and facilitate contacts Build and maintain sustainable networks and connections to employers

12 Further reflections Being in / staying in education is not a sufficient indicator for learners with SEN fully participating in the learning process To achieve basic knowledge and skills is necessary, but unfortunately not sufficient in order to fully participate in society • There is no evidence if learners with SEN are equally likely to drop-out or belonging to the group of early school leavers from inclusive educational settings, compared with their non-SEN peers Basis of an analysis by the European Agency

13 More information
European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education Østre Stationsvej 33 DK-5000 Odense C Denmark

14 The Agency Network National networks in 29 European countries: Austria, Belgium (Flemish and French speaking communities), Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

15 References [1] European Commission: Reducing early school leaving: Key messages and policy support, Final Report of the Thematic Working Group on Early School Leaving, November 2013 [2] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools Paris 2012: OECD [3] European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education: Raising Achievement for All Learners – Quality in Inclusive Education, Odense, Denmark 2012: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education [4] European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education: European Patterns of Successful Practice in Vocational Education and Training – Participation of Learners with SEN/Disabilities in VET. Odense, Denmark 2013: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education [5] Florian, L. and Black-Hawkins, K.: Exploring Inclusive Pedagogy. British Educational Research Journal, 37(5), p. 814 ( ) [6] European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education: Profile of Inclusive Teachers, Odense, Denmark 2012: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education

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