A study of schools across Europe has identified educational initiatives which can improve school success.
The five-year project INCLUD-ED ('Strategies for Inclusion and Social Cohesion in Europe from Education') has made significant progress in educational results, having first addressed the various characteristics of the school systems. While also accessing the educational reforms, which are generating high and low rates of educational and social exclusion. They also analysed the mechanism from educational practices, which were believed to decrease the rates of school failure and the practices that are increasing them.
The project was coordinated by Professor of Sociology, Ramón Flecha at the University of Barcelona, with EU-funding to the tune of EUR 3.4 million. Supported by researchers from 14 Member States, an in-depth analyses was conducted on education, and socio-economic background of children. Their research found that a child's background did not stand in the way of their educational achievement.
Armed with this information, the INCLUD-ED project team could then provide valuable recommendations, guidelines and tools. Their detailed analysis led to the identification of 'Successful Educational Actions' (SEAs) and 'Integrative Successful Actions' (ISAs), which were then implemented in various schools across Europe with noteworthy results.
With SEAs, the study found that this approach overcame educational and social exclusion, even in the most deprived neighbourhoods in Europe. One particular study was of the La Paz school in Barcelona, Spain. A huge improvement was experienced in this school after five years of implementation of the SEAs. For example the average achievement in reading passed from 1.4 (for the over 5 year olds) to 3.0. What was evident from the study was that success relied on reorganisation of the existing resources within the classroom, rather than the need for additional ones.
Another school within the study was Saint Thomas More College Zejtun in Malta. Here the number of pupils who passed their 11+ examination increased from
39 % to 69 %.
In both cases, once SEAs were implemented, enrolment within these schools increased considerably, without increasing the number of teachers. With the same resources, these schools managed to gain better results.
Overall the INCLUD-ED results provided scientific evidence of how educational performance is not only linked to the ethnic composition of the classroom (or the socio-economic background of the pupils' parents) but rather in the implementation of successful actions such as interactive groups and dialogic literary gatherings, which were found to encourage children to do better academically and emotionally. While after school clubs accelerated children's learning through the participation of parents and family members.
Following the results of the project, the initiatives set out have now been applied in real classroom settings. The best practices, which have developed within
INCLUD-ED, have been successfully implemented on a wider scale in Catalunya, which has a large migrant population, and have been rolled out across Spain.
Researchers within the INCLUD-ED project concluded that a European collaboration in the area of social sciences has led to real impact across schools in educational success.
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