Members of the European Parliament, representatives of different Member States and regional Parliaments, European Commission representatives -DG Research, DG Education, DG Employment, among others- policy makers, researchers, teachers, family members, citizens, NGOs, companies and children have participated, today 6th of December 2011, in the INCLUD-ED Final Conference at the European Parliament Headquarters.
A number of 284 attendees had the opportunity to listen how Successful Educational Actions (SEAs) overcome educational and social exclusion, even in the most deprived neighbourhoods in Europe. Rafael Layón, a family member from La Paz school, one of the case studies analysed in INCLUD-ED, explained the enormous improvement experienced in his school after five years of implementation of the SEAs. The school widely reduced early school leaving, improved pupil’s academic results and eradicated conflicts fostering social cohesion in the community. These successful actions do not require additional resources but rather a reorganization of the existing ones in the classroom and in the school. For instance, in Saint Thomas More College Zejtun in Malta, the proportion of pupils who pass the 11+ examination increased from 39% in 1999 to 69% in 2009; in La Paz School in Spain the average achievement in reading passed from 1.4 (over 5) in 2006-2007 up to 3.0 in 2007-2008. In all the cases analysed, when the SEAs were implemented, the pupils’ enrolment increased considerably, without increasing the number of teachers. With same resources, these schools get better results. The story of Layón, his children and their school is an example of the evidences provided by INCLUD-ED that improvements are experienced in any context across EU geography where SEAs are implemented.
INCLUD-ED results provide scientific evidences of how educational performance is not linked to the ethnic composition of the classroom (or the socio-economic background of the pupils’ parents) but rather to implementing evidence-based successful actions (such as Interactive groups, dialogic literary gatherings, afterschool clubs, etc.).
Dr. Simon Busuttil, Member of the European Parliament, emphasized that aacademic studies are essential to policy-makers as they provide the academic evidence required for giving direction to policy. This entails to move from assumptions to evidences in education. The development of evidence-based policies is more necessary than ever in order to overcome the school failure and early school leaving. That can be done only by basing the different policies on scientific evaluated evidences of the results of each action. INCLUD-ED project has demonstrated that SSH research provides scientific evidences that allow getting much better results with the same resources.
INCLUD-ED demonstrates how the results of the identified universal and transferrable successful educational actions generate policies that extend them to other schools, simultaneously meeting both equity and efficiency objectives. Jonna Leinonen (Finland), pre-primary school teacher, explained how the homework club and the mother tongue club facilitate heterogeneous grouping to include everyone. Ania Ballesteros (Spain), a 10 years old student, explained how the Interactive Groups and the Dialogic Literary Gatherings works at her school, where children do better academically and emotionally. Rachel Schembri (Malta) showed how the afterschool clubs accelerated children’s learning through the participation of parents and family members. Family education was particularly emphasized by Johannes Theiner, president of the European Parents Association. Finally, Graciela Cerna (Italy), immigrant women and Rosamaria Cisneros (Spain), Roma woman, showed the improvements experienced in vulnerable groups lives based on the evidences of successful actions.