The world is both big and small depending on where you have been and where you are going; we all have a responsibility to encourage learning and to find the greatness that exists in everyone.
Government policy across nation states, although aimed at helping educators and other stakeholders to identify and assess SEND, often lacks the clarity or depth needed for practice; this leads to confusion as to how it should be developed in schools (Gibson and Blandford, 2005). This is further impacted by inconsistencies in terminology across countries around the definition of SEND and its assessment, leaving it much open to interpretation at the local level. In part, interpretations of SEND explain the relatively large differences in the proportion of pupils identified with SEND across countries, as determined by legislation and provision. As a result, many question the inconsistency in views and attitudes towards the meaning of inclusion, which may explain, in part, the nurturing of what some researchers and practitioners consider to be non-inclusive practices (O’Gorman and Drudy, 2010; Pujol, 2010). Recognizing effective links between policy and practice for the implementation of inclusion (Blandford, 2006) has strong implications for practice.
Latvia: Developing education
Since 2012, AfA has supported Mission Possible students, higher education teacher educators and policy leaders from the Latvian ministry of education. Each project has focused on the 3A principles – Aspiration, Access and Achievement. Inclusion is a global phenomenon, one that applies to all countries regardless of culture. Leaders have the power to include; teachers, parents and carers have the capacity to educate children and young people to be inclusive.
Lithuania: Developing Leadership for SEND
School leadership is one of the main topics of European Union school modernization policy. Leadership development projects have been popular in the world for solving management problems. The Time for Leaders study, was important for policy makers and practitioners alike in terms of seeing how one country had approached changing policy that will impact on school leaders; their development and support and subsequent intended change in learning for students and pupils. Funded through European Union Structural Fund, the project was first supported by Achievement for All in 2009.
Norway: Oslo Schools Project
The Norway Schools Project started in June 2013, introducing a framework to improve teaching and learning based around the four Achievement for All elements, adapted for the Norwegian context:
- Element 1 – Leadership for inclusion
- Element 2 – Teaching and Learning
- Element 3 – Parent and Carer Engagement
- Element 4 – Wider Outcomes and Opportunities.
The Teaching and Learning for All project aimed to create an infrastructure and develop practices and procedures to promote improvements to the school’s outcomes. Oslo Municipal Department of Education (UDE) commissioned Achievement for All to work with two schools in Oslo: the Lindeberg School and H ø yenhall School. Both schools were underperforming against Oslo targets. An integral component of the programme is the existence of an Achievement for All coach, an experienced school leader with evidence of improving outcomes for children and young people identified with SEND. The coach in this project had sixteen years ’ secondary school leadership experience in a challenging London school.
Norway: Parent Carer Project
Since 2011, AfA has supported Teach First Norway in providing support and training in engaging with disadvantaged students and their parents. Each year a group of trainees (candidates) have been trained in the ‘structured conversation’ methodology, the impact on practice has been transformational.
United States: Engaging the Parents of Pupils Identified with SEND
The most accurate predictor of a student’ s achievement in school is not income or social status, but the extent to which that student ’ s family is able to create a home environment
that encourages learning; communicate high, yet reasonable, expectations for their children’ s achievement and future careers; and become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community. (SCHARGEL AND SMINK, 2001)
The Parent Engagement Partnership Program (PEPP) was a collaboration between the UK charity, Achievement for All and GEMS USA, designed to support schools in providing the best opportunities to ensure that all students make accelerated progress. The programme began as a pilot in spring 2013 with schools in New York City. The particular model identified high-needs students as the priority group of students, but all programme elements were applicable to the whole-school population. The programme provided schools with support and resources from which they developed sustainable local solutions to meet the needs of this group of students and the diverse range of families. The programme aimed to establish effective partnerships between teachers and families of students with high needs (the model identifies high-needs students as the priority group of students, but all programme elements were applicable to the whole-school population); foster development of positive relationships between students with high needs, their families, teachers and other professionals; provide development of parent engagement in a collaborative way
that includes CPD; create an environment where all students are listened to and their opinions valued; implement effective and lasting engagement routines with families; create a welcoming school environment.
South Korea: Development of Senior and Middle Leaders
Acclaimed for having one of the best education systems in the world and credited with transforming the country and growing the economy over the past sixty years, South Korea ’ s success reflects a culture in which teachers and schools are highly respected. In 2011, Dwight School Seoul, a not for profit, international school was built with support from the Korean government; 30 per cent of the students are funded by the state. All spaces within the school are created for learning, focused on developing thinking skills, encouraging innovation and imparting knowledge. In 2016, following an international school inspection (CIS) visit report, the senior leadership team wanted to take the school to a ‘higher ’ level, by training teachers to be leaders. Supported by Achievement for All, the school achieved triple accreditation status in 2019.