Environmental Education

Talking about the environment it refers to education for the protection of the environment and of the territory and respect for what surrounds us.
Environmental Education is a must to focus a concept that affects all of us very closely, it means raising awareness and attracting attention to environmental issues and the healthy use of the territory.
It is clear that there is a very close relationship among the environmental, social and economic dynamics that has to led to the elaboration of a broader concept of sustainable development education.

Sustainable Development Education is not only about the environment, but also the economy and society. It is a long-life learning concept, which should be inside and acquired from an early age with an approach not limited to “formal” learning, but also extends to the non-formal and informal learning, in fact the education to sustainable development regards all aspects of life as well as respect for future generations, for the environment and for the resources of the Earth.

It is a very important topic a world-wide-issue, in fact the international community stressed the importance of the Sustainable Development Education in 2002, during the World Summit of in Johannesburg, where it was decided to devote a decade to it (2005-2014), at the end of which UNESCO launched the Global Action Programme on Sustainable Development Education as a contribution to the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development in accordance with the Heads of State and Government in September 2015.

Seventeen new objectives including education, in particular sustainable development education (SDG 4.7 and SDG 13.3).
In Italy, during the 2015 school year, the Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with the Ministry of Education launched the new guidelines for environmental education developed by an Interministerial working group.

This consistent commitment gives the school a specific task for the formation of the new generations on the issues of sustainability and the close interconnection between man and the environment, which highlights a complex concept of the environment and an approach that has value only if includes contributions from all areas of knowledge to ensure that the individual feels part of the environment and no longer an entity in itself.

This must become a strong input for the school to enrich activities and initiatives that the same currently proposes at the formative level, offering tools to overcome the criticality given by the separation, often still present, between Subjects taught and learned and environmental issues.

In any way, the proposals must promote in young people, according to their age, knowledge and skills to the promotion and development of personal competences (competences of citizenship) and of specific disciplinary competences, but above all to develop awareness that the territory belongs to us and we must have civic sense and respect it.
Protecting and safeguarding the environment is our duty. Leggi tutto “Environmental Education”

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Cyprus & Malta Education Systems

CYPRUS

Compulsory education lasts 9 years, from 6 to 15 years:
The school system is as follows:
Primary School (6–12)
Secondary School / Gymnasium (12-15)
Secondary school / Secondary education (15-18)

Nipiagogelo (generic term for nursery school and kindergarten); Prodimotiki (preschool year).
Nursery, approximately 3 years (from 3 months to 3 years old); kindergarten, around 2 years (from 3 years to 4 years and 8 months); pre-school year, (from 4 years and 8 months to 5 years and 8 months).

Nursery schools are managed by the Department for assistance services, related to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, and has three types of offering: public, community (operating only in areas where public schools are not sufficient to cover the requirements) and private. In particular, the few places available at public nurseries are given to children of middle and low-income families; kindergartens are subject to inspections by the Ministry, unless they have been set up in combination with a nursery school, in which case they are subjected to inspections by the Ministry of Education.

The main objectives of nursery schools are established by the Department for assistance services. Nursery schools are opend to children from 3 months. The nursery school fees are established by their headteachers. For nursery schools there is one teacher per group, whose number varies according to the age of the children (3 years old: 24 children, 2 years old: 16 children, and children under 2 years old: 6 children).

A “typical day” of a nursery includes the arrival of the staff at 6:45, children are left by their parents between 7 and 7:30, and can be taken back at any time until 5pm, closing time. Nursery daily activities are based on age and number of children and the program is decided by the headteacher.
The Ministry of Education and Culture is the person in charge for the schools for children, which also provide for three types of offer (public, community and private).

The general objectives and aims of the kindergarten are presented in the curriculum for the pre-primary. High school entrance is allowed from 3 years old; from 2004, pre-primary education is compulsory and free starting from 4 years and 8 months, The Government supports nursery schools; however, family allowances are offered based on the number of children and for low-income families.

Classes are organized by age groups The minimum number of children per class is 15. Usually, there is a teacher for about 16 children.
Early childhood schools are opened Monday to Friday from 7:45 am to 1:05 pm. For nursery school, the daily organization and duration of activities are flexible and are oriented to the needs and interests of children, in order to develop their emotional and psychomotor skills.

The current curriculum of the pre-primary school (2005 edition) is part of the primary level curriculum. Nursery teachers are not required to hold a teaching qualification, since they do not work in educational institutions, in the public sector they are qualified personnel in the field of social assistance; to teach, on the other hand, at least one two-year diploma with a specialization in the field of childhood education is required.
Nursery school teachers, on the other hand, like those at primary level, must hold a four-year university degree.

MALTA

Child day care center (kindergarten) and Kindergarten centers (childcare centers).
Child day care centers last 2 years (from 1 to 3 years old), and Kindergarten centers last 2 years (from 3 to 5 ).
The Ministry of Education is the person in charge for Kindergarten centers, while the care for nursery schools belongs to the Ministry for the Family.

Nurseries, care and assistance centers are mainly offered by private people, the number of children aged 1-2 should not exceed 15 per group. The time schedule of activities was established in 1994 by an agreement between the Government and the Maltese Teachers Union.
Preschool education, organized in primary institutions, is offered free of charge to all children aged 3 to 5.

Attendance is not compulsory, however approximately 98% of children between 3 and 4 years old attend a childcare center. Children are grouped by same age. The maximum number of 3-year-old per group is 15, while the maximum number for 4-year-old is 20.
All state Kindergartens provide 5 hours and 30 minutes of full-time daily activities., but offers also part time activities.
Full-time week includes 27 hours and 30 minuteswhile part-time week is organized in 18 hours and 45 minutes.

Usually, children stay at the Kindergarten during the lunch break, supervised by the assistant. Kindergartens opened between 8 and 8:30 am and closed between 2 and 3 pm.
The National Minimum Curriculum, established in 1989 and revised in 1999, establishes the general objectives of the pre-school level according to the following aspects:

intellectual development, emotional, physical, moral, development of the aesthetic and creative sense and religious development. State school assistants receive an official document containing pre-school education guidelines, which reinforces the objectives of the national minimum curriculum, and that underlines the importance of supporting children in the transition to compulsory education.

Teaching staff, ie childcare assistants, must hold a diploma from the institute for community services, which is headed by the institute for arts, science and technology (Malta College or Arts, Science and Technology – MCAST). Leggi tutto “Cyprus & Malta Education Systems”

Denmark & Sweden Education Systems

DENMARK

In Denmark, compulsory education lasts 9 years, from 6/7 to 15/16 years old
Pre-Primary School or Folkeskole (6–7),
Primary and Secondary School or Folkeskolens afgangsprøve, grundskole (7–15)
Secondary School or Studentereksamen, Handelsskole, Teknisk skole (15–19 years)
Erhvervsuddannelse, Svendeprøve (15–20 years)

Vuggestuer (nursery); 8ørnehaver (kindergarten); Børnehavekl axis (preschool class).
Vuggestuer, 2 and a half years (from 6 months to 3 years old); Børnehaver, (from 3 to 6); Børnehavekl axis, a year (from 5/6 to 7 years old).
The Vuggestuer and the Børnehaver must be organized and offered free of charge by the municipalities, but they are not part of the education system. On the contrary, La Børneha vekl axis is part of the education system and, since August 2006, is the first class of compulsory education, which has a total duration of 10 years.

Municipalities are responsible as they must ensure that pre-primary classes are established at compulsory education institutions. Municipalities are obliged to guarantee access to education to all children living in the area of competence. In August 2005, a parliamentary recommendation was adopted to give families the possibility to choose the institute even beyond the municipal or county boundaries.

The admission of children to pre-school education is mainly based on age; but if demands exceeds the offer, the municipalities give the available places according to the following preference requirements: children with special educational or social needs; children with only one parent; children with parents who work far from home; children with brothers or sisters already enrolled at the same institution.
Money for all levels of pre-primary education comes from local authorities through centrally allocated funds.

The educational activities in the Børnehavekl axis begin in mid-August and end the last week of June, for a total of at least 600 hours, distributed in a minimum of 20 lessons per week, divided into 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week. The daily schedule is decided by the school, but cannot exceed 6 hours, generally from 8.00 to 14.00.

The Børnehaveklasse education plan must include the following themes: language and forms of expression; the nature and phenomena of the natural sciences; music; P.E.; social life; cooperation. As part of these issues, Børnehavek! Axis teachers can choose the content, working methods, teaching materials, etc. Teaching is organized in the form of a game or other activities, without the use of formal classes or lessons.

 

SWEDEN

In Sweden, compulsory education lasts 9 years, from 7 to 16 years old
Primary and Secondary School ( Grundskola): 7-16 years with a chance to start at 6.
High School ( Gymnasium): 16–19 years old.

Fòrskola (pre-school); familjedaghem (day-care in a private home);
òppen fòrskolci (open pre-school); Fòrsko e-klass (pre-school class).
Fòrskola, familjedaghem and òppen fòrskola 5-6 years (from 1 to 7 years old); Fòrskole-klass 4 years (from 3 to 7).

Municipalities must offer preschool activities to all children aged between 1 and 5 whose parents work or study. All children aged 4 and 5 have the right to follow free pre-school activities for at least 3 hours a day or 15 hours a week. The opening hours are from 6.30 to 18.30. School activities are financed by the municipalities and the fees paid by the parents.

Municipalities are also required to organize preschool classes for 6-year-old children (about 3 hours a day). They are often organized at the compulsory schools and are part of the public education system. Attendance is voluntary but around 95% of 6-year-old kids are enrolled in these classes. In general, the rest of the children are already enrolled in compulsory education. Pre-school classes are payed by the municipality, including teaching materials, meals and transportation.

Most schools are managed by the municipalities, but the number of independent pre-schools, managed by private people, has increased in the last 5 years (17% of children in preschool in 2004 attended independent institutions).

The most common pre-school organizations are parents’ cooperatives which are open from Monday to Friday all year round.
In the familjedaghem an educator takes care of the children registered in the educator’s home. In the òppen fòrskola parents can occasionally bring their children to carry out educational and social activities for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. They are especially made for children who do not attend other kinds of structures.
Most children combine pre-school class attendance with leisure time centers, or at a home educator.

The curricula established by the government, provide for the national objectives for the different forms of education, however, the specific means by which these objectives are achieved are determined by those who work in educational institutions.
The teaching methods and materials are a free choice of teachers. On the basis of the curriculum, each municipality is obliged to adopt a school plan. Leggi tutto “Denmark & Sweden Education Systems”

Luxembourg & Netherlands education systems

Luxembourg

Preschool education from 1 to 4.

Compulsory education from 4 to 15  and consists of pre-primary school (Spillshoul) from 4 to 6; primary education from 6 to 12 ; lower secondary from 12 to 15.

Secondary education lasts 4 years: 2 years of general type and 2 years of specialization.

The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is the person in charge for schools.                             The pre-school level provide education, the second year is compulsory starting at the age of 4, while the first year is optional. Pre-school education is free for all kids, even for children who attend the non-compulsory first year (the so-called ‘early education’), the children are divided into mixed age groups, in accordance with a ‘familiar’ model. Generally, the maximum number of children per teacher is 25, even if the national average is about 17-18 children; but if in the classes there are more than 26 children, they are divided into two groups; except for low-populated areas where the number is more or less 10 students each class.

Kindergartens opening hours are as follow: from 8 to 11.45 and from 14 to 16 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 8 to 11.45 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In many municipalities schools are closed on Saturdays. The framework program (1991) lists the activities considered important for the development of children: physical activities (games, dance, swimming, etc.), musical activities, artistic activities (drawing, painting, printing, etc.), and exercises of logic and mathematics.

Because of the trilingual reality of Luxembourg and the high number of immigrants, teachers have regular Luxembourg language sessions for foreign children. No evaluation is foreseen during the two years of the compulsory preschool education; in case kids do not reach  language skills, or the expected standard level of development has not been achieved, the teacher informs the inspector and the parents; and sometimes a compulsory third year of school attendance is required before entering primary school.

The teaching staff must have a certificate of pedagogical studies (Certifìcat d’étu despédagogiques – CEP), got at the “Institute supérieur d’études et de recherces pédagogiques” (ISERP). Teachers work 25 hours per week and one hour is dedicated to training and contact with parents.

Netherlands

In the Netherlands compulsory education lasts 12 years, from 4 to 16.

The school system is organized in primary school 4-12, secondary school  12-18.

In the Netherlands there is no level of pre-primary education organized within the educational system. Children from 4  can attend the optional year of the Basisonderwijs (full-time compulsory education), otherwise they will go directly to the primary level.

There are care services for 4 years (from 0 to 4 ), and Basisonderwijs 1 year (from 4 to 5).

The Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment, together with the municipal authorities, is responsible for facilities for the care of children under the age of 4. The following services are available:

  1. Day nursery schools: for kids from 6 weeks to 3 years old and  are opened on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with qualified staff , but we can also find part time nurseries opened 5 hours per day.
  2. After school services are available for children aged from 4 to 12; they are opened centers before and after school hours (sometimes in the lunchtime), they are opened in the afternoon when there are no  lessons at school or during summer holidays but many centers are opened all year round.
  3. Maternal helpers, usually people who take care of a group of 4 children maximum in their own home. This service is offered by agencies organized to take in touch parents with private people offering this kind of home service;
  4. Childcare services at companies for internal employees. The companies provide an internal nursery service for their employees’ children;
  5. Municipal nurseries, organized and managed by parents groups, who follow the children without any retribution;
  6. Game groups for children 2-3 years old, who usually attend these centers two mornings or afternoons a week. These groups are financed by the municipal authorities with a variable contribution from the parents. Priority is given to children with social and health problems, or to children at risk.                                                                                                                                                   The services described as above  do not include a curriculum and a formal evaluation.

Leggi tutto “Luxembourg & Netherlands education systems”

Portugal & Spain education systems

Portugal

In Portugal compulsory education lasts 9 years  from 6 to 15.

The school system is organized as follow:

Primary and Secondary School (Escola Básica  6-15)

High School (Escola Secundária 15-18)

Jardins de ìnfòncia: 3 years (for kids from 3 to 6 years old). The Ministry of Education is the person in charge for kindergartens, both for state and private institutions. Pre-school education, based on the 1997 Pre-school Education Framework Act, is considered an integral part of the education system even if it is optional. Pre-school education can be organized through different organizations: jardins de infòncia (kindergarten) or socio-educational activities.

The kids groups are organized according to the methodology used by the pedagogical Council of the single institution (usually same age groups or mixed age groups). Schools for children, managed and financed by the Ministry of Education, provide a maximum number of 25 children per teacher, 20 in case of classes with 3-year-old children. Generally, teachers change groups every day and in schools activities last  5 hours a day for 5 days a week.

The teacher is responsible for the development of the curriculum and have to follow  the guidelines on pre-school education defined by the Ministry of Education in 1997. The evaluation is of a training nature, since it is mainly concerned with the processes rather than the results and  develop active learning.

Staff; the initial formation of the pre-school teachers includes a scientific component and a pedagogical component, oriented to the achievement of a specific professional qualification, and takes place in the Escolas Superiores de Educaòo. The future teacher of the pre-school level follows higher courses that give the title of” licenciado”. Teachers work 35 hours a week, divided into 25 teaching  hours and 10 hours dedicated to other activities.

Spain

The compulsory school in Spain lasts 10 years, from 6 to 16.

The school system is as follows:

Primary School   (6-12)

Secondary School  (12-16)

Higher School  (16-18)

Professional Training  (16-20)

The “Educaciòn infantil” is the first level of the educational system, it is not mandatory and is free. It lasts 6 years divided into two cycles of 3 years each (one from 0 to 3  and the other from 3 to 6). It is offered by both public and private institutions and often the second cycle is organized at primary education institutions.

The maximum number of children per class varies from 8 (classes of babies under 1 year old) to 25 (children from 3 to 6). School year starts from 1 to 15 September and finishes from 21 to 30 June, for a total of 180 days divided into 5-day weeks. Usually children can not stay at school for more than 9 hours a day. Many schools have also started to offer breakfast from 7.30 in the morning.

Both levels have an educational aims and the curriculum deals with three areas of experience: identity and personal autonomy, discovery of the physical and social environment, communication and representation. In particular, in the second cycle we can find the introduction to literacy, basic elements of ICT and foreign languages. Pre-primary education must be closely coordinated with primary education, in order to guarantee a more gradual transition to that level of education.

Staff: the training for pre-school teachers takes place at the Escuelas Universitarias de Profesorado. The training consists of three-year cycle at university level. At the end of these studies they get a Master’s degree  in different specializations: pre-primary education, primary education, foreign language, physical education, music education. They are public employees and are selected through public competitions. Training is obligatory  at all levels and the courses must be organized by the educational authorities and are free.

Alternanza scuola lavoro: a new concept is born…

L’Alternanza scuola-lavoro è una modalità didattica innovativa che, grazie all’esperienza pratica, facilita il consolidamento delle conoscenze acquisite a scuola e diventa un valido ausilio nel testare sul campo le attitudini di studentesse e studenti, nell’arricchirne la formazione e nell’orientarne il percorso di studio con progetti in linea con i piani di studi.

La Legge 53 del 2003 istituzionalizza l’alternanza scuola lavoro come parte integrante del curricolo scolastico e non più pratica aggiuntiva. Il D. Lgs. 77/2005 introduce l’ASL in tutte le scuole per assicurare ai giovani competenze spendibili nel mercato del lavoro.

L’Alternanza scuola-lavoro (ASL), obbligatoria per tutte le studentesse e gli studenti degli ultimi tre anni delle scuole superiori è una delle innovazioni più significative della legge 107 del 2015 in linea con il principio della scuola aperta, attraverso la quale i giovani esprimeranno la propria customer satisfaction e la riscontrata coerenza tra PECUP e profilo professionale definito in ASL.

Le Raccomandazioni europee evidenziate nella relazione di CE “Ripensare l’istruzione, investire nelle abilità in vista di migliori risultati economici” del novembre 2012, gli obiettivi di Europa 2020, il programma europeo “Education and training 2020”, l’avvicinamento dell’Italia al sistema duale, mirano ad innalzare gli standard di qualità, a migliorare il livello di apprendimento e a rispondere al bisogno di competenze che si esplicano nel concetto di cittadinanza attiva. Sullo sviluppo personale, si evidenzia l’imprescindibilità delle competenze digitali, la capacità imprenditoriale dei giovani unici protagonisti del futuro del nostro paese e dell’Europa intera.

L’ASL come dimensione formativa centrata sull’allievo e sulle job vacancy sempre più differenziate per profilo professionale, come reale strumento di orientamento professionale non avulso dal contesto territoriale ma inserito nelle dinamiche locali, nei nuovi bisogni formativi e professionali, mette al centro dell’universo scuola i giovani, stakeholders principali ed unico motore del complesso mercato del lavoro.

Un cambiamento culturale di notevole importanza per la costruzione di una via italiana al sistema duale, che si ispira a buone prassi europee, incardinandole nel tessuto produttivo e nel contesto socio-culturale italiano.

Ma qualcosa è cambiato, infatti nella bozza della Legge di Bilancio, sono evidenti alcune modifiche al progetto di questa nuova modalità didattica dell’Alternanza scuola lavoro che, pur nella sua grande validità di principi e attuazioni,  ha, comunque, provocato nella scuola notevoli disagi organizzativi, ma c’e’ da dire che nonostante tutto in alcune regioni è stato un progetto formativo di eccezionale importanza per diffondere tra i giovani la cultura del lavoro e l’esperienza sul campo.

Ma in che cosa è cambiato? Il primo cambiamento riguarda la nomenclatura. Infatti le attività si chiameranno: “Percorsi per le competenze trasversali e per l’orientamento”, descrivendo nel concreto quello che gli studenti svolgono a scuola anche attraverso esperienze di aziende simulate.

In pratica percorsi di orientamento e di sviluppo delle competenze trasversali che si ispirano alla promozione  della settima competenza europea: il “senso d’iniziativa e di imprenditorialità”.

Ne viene, altresì, cambiata anche la durata in termini di ore in un progetto che deve essere necessariamente flessibile e adattato al contesto territoriale e alle esigenze dell’Istituzione scolastica. I percorsi restano comunque diversi a seconda del tipo di studio e per numero di ore utilizzate. Infatti viene fissato un tetto minimo a cui le scuole devono adeguarsi ma che possono incrementare a seconda delle esigenze e dell’offerta formativa, così ridistribuite:

  • negli istituti professionali non inferiore a 180 ore
  • negli istituti tecnici  non inferiore a 150 ore
  • nei licei non inferiore a 90 ore.

Queste modifiche, dopo poco tempo dalla nascita dell’ASL, non dovrebbero minimizzare l’importanza culturale e professionale che ha caratterizzato tale esperienza formativa sia per i docenti referenti e tutor interni e, soprattutto, per i giovani che ne sono stati i protagonisti. Il meeting con la “cultura d’impresa” è stato un input di ricchezza per la scuola, una grande possibilità di dialogo e di confronto per il welfare sociale.

Abbiamo avuto esempi di esperienze, legate all’ASL, molto ben organizzate e strutturate che hanno offerto ai ragazzi  opportunità di crescita e di maturazione umana e culturale. Gli studenti hanno avuto la reale opportunità di osservare il mondo del lavoro con un atteggiamento d’impegno e di responsabilità partecipativa.

Si auspica vivamente che la diminuzione delle ore, prevista dall’attuale Legge di Bilancio, non vanifichi la qualità di questa positiva esperienza del curricolo formativo dello studente, che, se inserita ad hoc nel percorso di studio, aiuta lo sviluppo di “competenze trasversali” ed offre una valida guida di “orientamento” nella scelta degli studi universitari, nella consapevolezza di sapere cosa “fare da grandi” e proiettarsi scientemente nella professione del domani.

…Let’s go on with Austria and Belgium school systems

AUSTRIA

The school system is as follows:

  • Primary School or Volksschule (6-10)
  • Secondary school or Hauptschule or AHS-Unterstufe (10-14)
  • Polytechnische Schule (PTS) (14-15)
  • Superiors / Upper level (15-18)

Kindergarten lasts 3 or 4 years (from 3 to 6/7 years old). The pre-school education is not included in the education system, but it is subject to law and does not depend on the Ministry of Education. There are public Kindergartens, established and financed at national level, at Land level or by municipalities, and private Kindergarten, offered by associations, churches or religious orders. Attendance is optional, but admission conditions are put down in the Education Act in Kindergarten for each Land.

Activities are not regulated by a national curriculum, but medium and long-term planning includes group activities and individual activities. The Kündergarten are opened  from 7 to 19 and the ‘school year’ starts in September. Families receive, in addition to the family allowance provided until the economic independence of their children, specific allowances for the care of children from the age of 3. Financial support for  taxes payment is guaranteed on the basis of individual income.

Classes are organized into same age groups and mixed groups, which can vary by providing part time, full time, and afternoon groups especially suitable for children with special needs. There is one teacher for each group and often a second person (a Kindergarten teacher or an assistant) takes care of supporting the educational work.

There are no fixed rules regarding the school time schedule; the day usually begins with playing moments, then follow group activities (for example, reading fairy tales, singing songs, playing sports, etc.) moreover can practice individual activities such as painting, drawing. The activities planning and relevant topics are free, infact  there is no compulsory annual curriculum.

There is no evaluation, but teachers are responsible for monitoring and analyzing their children progress in the working methodology, cooperating with parents and therapists, and monitoring children’s health. Teacher training takes place in special schools at upper secondary level or in special training institutions at post-secondary level.

 

BELGIUM

The school system is as follows:

  • Primary school  (6-12 years old)
  • Secondary school  (12-18 years old)

Ecole maternelle lasts 3 and a half  (from 2 to 6). The école maternelle is not compulsory but it is a part of the educational system and along with primary education, it is an integral part of the basic educational path (up to 12 years old). Usually children are grouped into same age classes.

The schools are opened  5 days a week full time, except on Wednesday afternoons. The school year begins on September 1st and ends on June 30th. There are no ‘lessons’ but a series of  activities to improve psychomotor, linguistic, artistic, logical and social skills of the children.

The evaluation is carried out  in compliance with general rules. The children are evaluated taking in account their approach in carrying out activities and observing their behavior, through individual monitoring  that is carried out 2 or 3 times a year; in fact teachers can give to parents a complete report of their child’s progress.

To be a teacher it is necessary to have completed a 3-year course of study (theoretical and practical) at a higher level to get a certification for pre-primary education. Pre-primary teachers are employees of the institution hey work for, since 2002 training is mandatory.

Qualified nurses take care of very young children. If a child has disorders or special educational needs, there is the support of qualified personnel who offer special activities.

                                                                                                                              …To be continued

                                                                                                                            Laura Di Masi

EU key competences 2018

The New Skills Agenda for Europe announced the review of the 2006 Recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning, aware that a shared and updated understanding of key competences is a must for education, training and non-formal learning all over  Europe.

This also to face changes in society and economy,  to have a glance on the future of work, and following the public consultation on the review of the 2006 Recommendation on key competences, both the Recommendation and the European Reference Framework of key competences for lifelong learning must be updated.

The development of key competences, have to start using good practices for educational staff in improving their education, along with new and innovative forms of teaching and learning. Moreover, considering the experiences of the last decade, this Recommendation should address the challenges in implementing competence-oriented education, training and learning in order to enable individuals to have their own competences  and get full or partial qualifications.

It can build on the existing arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning as well as the European Qualification Framework, which provides a common reference framework to compare levels of qualifications, indicating the competences required to get them. Furthermore it  may help in constructure learning processes and  helping people to improve their competences.

The Proposal for a Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning has been published and replaced the 2006 Recommendation. What are the competences European citizens need to acquire, actually? Some competences  have been updated, while others have significant changes in terminology, too. The same have to support people in improving their competences from early age on throughout their lives.

 

The 8 Key Competences are listed as follow:

Literacy competence: can “be developed in the mother tongue, in the language of schooling, and/or in the official language of the country”.

Languages competence: “to help people to communicate to make use of mobility within Europe and in a globalized economy”.

Science, Technological Engineering and Mathematical competence as in 2006: “they are prerequisite for the functioning of technologically advanced, knowledge based societies and economies”.

Digital competence includes 5 areas:

  1. Information and data literacy, including management of content
  2. Communication and collaboration and participation in society
  3. Digital content creation
  4. Safety
  5. Problem solving

Digital technologies must be used instead of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and IST (Information Society Technology) because it is the best term to refer to the complete range of devices and software.

Personal, Social and Learning competence: includes three specific aspects:

  • personal
  • social
  • learning

Civic competence: includes active citizenship, participation, building a sustainable future and stress the role of citizenship, democratic values and human rights in today’s more and more connected global societies.

Entrepreneurship competence: Creativity and the ability to plan and manage processes are evidenced as essential dimensions of an entrepreneurial mindset.

Cultural Awareness and Expression Competence: A huge range of contemporary forms of cultural expressions and also to describe how this competence is a focusing element in understanding, developing and expressing ideas, moreover being able to see the world with positive and open-minded attitudes towards other cultures.

Il ruolo dell’ispettore tecnico nell’elaborazione di progetti per attuare gli obiettivi indicati dal Ministro in materia di politica scolastica

L’ispettore, figura centrale nella scuola ma nella tradizione visto più come il censore che non come, invece, l’occhio critico di aiuto e sostegno al nuovo e moderno concetto di scuola. Nell’art. 4 del Dpr 417/74 relativo alla funzione ispettiva si legge che: gli ispettori contribuiscono a promuovere e coordinare le attività di aggiornamento del personale direttivo e docente delle scuole di ogni ordine e grado; formulano proposte e pareri in merito ai programmi di insegnamento e agli esami, alle metodologie di sperimentazione di cui curano il coordinamento; possono essere sentiti dai consigli scolastici provinciali in relazione alla loro funzione; svolgono attività di assistenza tecnico-didattica delle scuole ed attendono alle ispezioni disposte dal Ministero; svolgono anche attività di studio, ricerca e consulenza tecnica per il Ministro.

Come si evince dal su citato Dpr si tratta di una figura con compiti e funzioni importanti, di spessore, di un profilo professionale che abbia conoscenze, competenze e dimestichezza con le problematiche inerenti la scuola in particolare con le problematiche educative e psico-pedagogiche oltre che supportato da un ottimo sostrato culturale. I tempi sono, ormai, più che maturi per ridefinire la funzione ispettivo-tecnica, in un contesto di autonomia delle istituzioni scolastiche, di avvio del Sistema Nazionale di Valutazione, di innovazioni introdotte dalla Legge 107 del 2015.

E possiamo affermare che, in questo senso,  il DM n. 60 del 2010 contiene praticamente il nuovo atto di indirizzo che ridisegna  la funzione ispettivo- tecnica, inserendola in un’ottica di supporto al processo di innovazione e di miglioramento e tenendo conto del nuovo quadro del sistema istruzione derivante dalle riforme degli anni ’90 e dall’attribuzione dell’autonomia scolastica.

Il DM 60 evidenzia che l’autonomia delle scuole richiede comunque la permanenza di competenze che fanno capo all’Amministrazione scolastica centrale e periferica. In quest’ottica, diventa un must dell’Amministrazione, la promozione dell’innovazione scolastica, anche attraverso l’attività di ispezione  come strumento conoscitivo delle varie realtà amministrate. Al corpo ispettivo compete la vigilanza tecnica sui risultati formativi conseguiti, l’assistenza alle scuole, la formazione continua, iniziale e in servizio, del personale dirigente scolastico e docente, affidate anche alla funzione tecnica.

Ai dirigenti tecnici viene riconosciuto un ruolo strategico, anche per il supporto ai processi dell’Amministrazione attiva e per la capacità di concorrere alla realizzazione della politica scolastica. Il nuovo corpo ispettivo dovrebbe essere un autonomo organismo strutturato non solo in funzione del controllo delle scuole ma anche, e soprattutto, della promozione culturale, dell’innovazione, della ricerca e della progettualità a vari livelli.

Gli ispettori della P. I., meglio conosciuti come dirigenti tecnici, vanno chiaramente  impiegati per risolvere dei casi individuali ma soprattutto per l’orientamento culturale e il miglioramento della qualità delle scuole nei settori in cui la loro preparazione scientifica e tecnica e l’indipendenza di giudizio possono rappresentare un input di qualificazione dell’autonomia scolastica.

Nel rilanciare  la scuola dal punto di vista qualitativo bisogna considerare assolutamente indispensabile la funzione ispettiva, migliorandone le condizioni di efficienza e di efficacia operativa, la possibilità di costante formazione, il disporre di mezzi adeguati; e ciò diventa prioritario con la scuola dell’autonomia dove è fondamentale ridefinire, rinnovandola, anche la funzione di controllo esercitata dall’Amministrazione.

Il controllo, al di fuori ovviamente delle “Ispezioni disposte”, potrebbe e dovrebbe essere utilizzato in termini di supporto, promozione, accompagnamento, suggerimento. Gli ispettori devono produrre e far valere una elaborazione culturale di spessore come base della progettazione nazionale, regionale, provinciale, in modo da riportare la cultura e la persona realmente al centro di massimo impegno dell’organizzazione scolastica, in particolar modo la figura dell’ispettore va incardinata soprattutto nell’ottica della progettualità della scuola, con occhio vigile, futurista e con lungimirante attenzione all’Europa.

European Educational Systems

FINLAND

In Finland compulsory education lasts 9 years, from 7 to 17 years.

The kindergarten system is held by the Ministry for Social Affairs and Health, but management is entrusted to local authorities and social services. By law, every child under the compulsory school age has the right to attend the kindergarten. The expenses for the family depend on the income, on numbers of family members and the on time that kids attend the kindergarten.

The main aim of kindergarten is to support families with children.

The children are divided into age groups (up to 3 and from 3 to 6 years old) and can attend full or part time. Kindergartens are generally opened 5 days a week, from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm, but can be opened till 6 or 7 days, depending on family needs.

There are no special requirements to esiopetus admission that is free.

The annual number of hours is minimum 700 for a maximum of 5 hours per day, but the organization of daily timetable, the days and the opening hours per week, etc., are established by each institute.

In large nurseries, children aged 6 years old can be put in a separate class.

The Ministry of Education suggest to have  groups with no more than 13 children, except in case of kids with special needs, in this case the number of children can increase up to 20 in the classroom thanks to the presence of specialized teachers.

Since 2002, a curriculum has been in force for esiopetus that does not include single subjects but topics related to the various aspects of children life and to the world around them. In this way children are introduced to language, mathematics, ethics and philosophy, environment, nature and health.

ESTONIA

The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for pre-primary institutes (kindergartens and infant schools ), both teach Common education. The objectives and tasks are set out in the Law on Pre-School Institutes and in the National Curriculum in 1999.

The National Curriculum, which prepares children for primary school through the development of creativity, communication and skills, divides the contents of the activities into 5 categories:

  • language and speech,
  • mathematics,
  • art,
  • music to which are added for 5/6 year-old kids  a sixth category,
  • Estonian language, in case their mother tongue is different from it.

The planned activities last 10-15 minutes for children up to 3 years old, 25 minutes for children between 3 and 6 years old, and 35 minutes for children between 6 and 7. Children have the opportunity to choose from the various activities offered, so that they are able  to develop an dividual thought, to correct their actions and to be responsible for the results of their actions.

The physical, mental and social development of the kids, are communicated to their parents by written reports  two or three times a year for children aged 3, 5 and 7 years old.

Staff: Teaching staff, which also includes music and P.E. teachers, must have a higher education qualification corresponding to 120-160 credits.

To be continued…

European Education Systems

Let’s go and have a look, this month,  to Ireland and France education systems.

IRELAND

In Ireland the compulsory education lasts 10 years, from 6 to 16

The school system is as follows:

  • Primary school / National school (4-12 years)
  • Secondary School / Junior Cycle / Junior Certificate Program (12-15 years)
  • High School / Senior Cycle / Leaving Certificate Program (15 / 16-17 / 18 years)
  • Professional Training / Post Leaving Certificate Courses (Duration 1 or 2 years, after 18/19 years)

Denomination: infant classes in primary school and lasts  2 years (from 4 to 6 ).

There is no national pre-school education system.

Most children aged 4 and 5 attend primary school classes, which is compulsory from 6.

Anyway the State finances other forms of childcare, organized like kindergartens in case of children who live in rural areas or suffer socio-economic disadvantages.

Take note that to attend nursery classes is free, while for the kindergartens families have to pay.

The nursery classes have as same days as the primary school classes, with a schedule of 4 hours and 40 minutes per day, from 9.00 a.m. to 14.00 p.m. Kindergartens are opened 4-5 days a week from 9.30 a.m. up to afternoon.

Children are divided into  same age groups in nursery classes, while in kindergartens there are mixed age groups of kids.

The role of infant classes is to introduce children to formal learning, so the not-compulsory two years are still part of an integrated program covering all eight years of primary education (from 4 to 12 ).

Teachers of primary school are qualified teachers, with the same status and salary and are assigned to a specific class.

Staff working in kindergartens generally do not have specific training.

FRANCE

In France the compulsory education lasts 10 years, from 6 to 16 .

The school system is as follows:

  • Primary School / Ecoles Elementares (6-11 years),
  • Secondary School / Collèges (11-15 years)
  • High school / Lycées (15-18 years)

Denomination: Ecole maternelle

Duration: 4 years (from 2 to 6).

The école maternelle is not compulsory but is part of the first cycle of the French educational system called ‘Cycle des apprentissages premiers’ and it is free in public school. It is a real school environment, with teaching programs and learning activities.

Other possibilities, which do not belong to the ordinary educational system,  are given to parents with kids under 2 years.

These are welcomed at Le crèches, whose management is locally entrusted to departments for health and social affairs, to municipalities, and to other subjects always operating at local level. In addiction children can be entrusted to qualified and authorized people, who assist them at home.

Children are grouped according to different age in 3 sections: the first section is for children of 2 / 3 years; the second for children of 4 and the third one for 5 year children.

The école maternelle has an educational function and is  preparatory for primary school.

The program was defined in 2002 and is built around 5 main areas of activity:

  1. Language
  2. To live together
  3. Act and express yourself with your body
  4. Discover the world
  5. Sensitivity, imagination and creativity.

The school year begins in September and ends at the end of June, with dates set each year by the Ministry of National Education.

The week consists of 26 hours, the teachers organize the daily activities according to the needs of the children and the skills that the the pupils have to acquire and still established for each cycle.

The teachers or the pedagogical group are responsible for the regular evaluation of children’s knowledge, through a care observation. According to that  the teachers decide the progression of a pupil to the next cycle.

Moreover for each child a school booklet is kept to update progression and skills acquired by him/her.

The pedagogical group is made up of general  and specialized teachers, while the educational group consists of people who have the responsibility of a pupil or a group of pupils.

The teachers are assisted in their work by the Agents Territoriaux Specialisés d’École Maternelle (specialized territorial Agents of the kindergarten), recruited by local authorities and in possession of specific training.

Rubrica Sistemi Scolastici Europei

Cari colleghi, al concorso per dirigente scolastico è richiesta la competenza in una lingua straniera (a scelta tra inglese, francese, tedesco e spagnolo) di livello B2 del CEF ( Common European Framework).

La prova scritta prevede, quindi, accanto ai 5 quesiti in lingua italiana a risposta aperta sulle materie del bando, ulteriori 2 quesiti nella lingua straniera prescelta. Ciascuno di questi ultimi richiederà la comprensione di un testo attraverso la risoluzione di 5 quesiti a risposta chiusa. I testi in lingua straniera verteranno su due delle aree tematiche oggetto della procedura concorsuale: organizzazione degli ambienti di apprendimento  e sistemi educativi dei  paesi dell’ UE.

 A tale scopo, verrà inserita, nel Curiosity corner della presente rubrica, una specifica sezione finalizzata alla esercitazione nelle lingue inglese e francese. Proporremo brani di graduata difficoltà linguistica accompagnati da esercizi mirati in linea con le tipologie che saranno  somministrate in sede d’esame. Verrà incluso anche un glossario di termini specifici la cui conoscenza riteniamo utile per una veloce comprensione dei testi. Ricordiamo, infatti, che non sarà possibile, durante la prova scritta del concorso, la consultazione del dizionario in lingua straniera.

Le esercitazioni saranno curate, per la lingua inglese, da Laura Di Masi e Rosaria Perillo e, per quella francese, da Anne Marie Peduto. In questo numero della rivista, i brani verteranno sulla  “Valutazione degli apprendimenti e sull’Inclusione scolastica“.

 

                                                                                                    Laura Di Masi e Rosaria Perillo

“European School Systems”

Europe put the political education to the attention of the European Union for the first time with the Maastricht Treaty on E.U. In fact the treaty in Title VIII was dedicated to social policies for education, vocational training and youth possibilities.

The ART.126 of the Treaty says that “The Community  contributes to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation among Member States by supporting and supplementing their actions, but fully respecting the responsibility of each Member State regards to the content of “teaching and the organization of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity”.

Therefore, it specifies that the European Union, with regards to the Political Education and training, has just a coordinating and subsidiary role. Each Member State is responsible for its own education and training system, but must co-operate within an European framework to achieve common goals.

The E.U. action is aimed to:

  • develop the European dimension of education through the learning and dissemination of the languages of the Member States;
  • encourage the mobility of students and teachers, promoting the academic award of diplomas and periods of studies;
  • promote cooperation among European education institutions;
  • expand the  information and experience exchange about common problems of the education systems of the Member States;
  • help the development of exchanges of young people and animators of socio-educational activities;
  • support the development of distance education.

The Article 127 is however projected to get a professional training able to improve the possibility of workers employment  in order to raise living standards, and for these purposes the article 123 of the Treaty establishes the European Social Fund with the aim of financing youth mobility (Erasmus Generation).

The decades following the Maastricht Treaty was a very prolific period that gave the input to start cooperation within the framework of the Copenhagen Process, it has set up a system oriented to lifelong learning and defined the policies and the Benchmark with the Lisbon Document 2010 and 2020 for the development of human capital in the knowledge society.

Now we’re going to analize school system in brief of each Member state , let’s start with the U.K.( United Kingdom):

U.K. education system :

In England, Wales and Scotland compulsory education lasts 11 years, from 5 to 16 years.

In Northern Ireland, compulsory education lasts 12 years, from 4 to 16 years.

The school system is as follows:

Primary School (5-11 years),

Secondary School  (11-14, 14-16).

Upper secondary education (16-18 years) is not compulsory

Pre-school education (Kindergarten) in ENGLAND:

It is called foundation stage and lasts 2 years (from 3 to 5 years old).

The pre-school education is carried out in schools for kids and in pre-school classes at primary schools.

In England, the foundation stage is a separate level in the education system and plays an important role in the development of children’s skills and in preparing them  to start compulsory schooling.

Schools for children and pre-school classes in primary schools generally accept children from 3 (but 2-year-old children can be admitted, too) depending on the admission policies adopted by the single local Authority and to the available places for each school .

Parents have the right to express their school preference .

Usually they are open 5 days a week from 9.00 to 15.00 and remain closed during the school holidays.

The distribution of children in groups is decided by the school Head teacher, according to kids of same age or organized by mixed age groups. The Head teacher also decides the timetable, teaching methods and materials to be used.

The objectives of foundation stage cover the following areas: personal, social and emotional development; communication, language; knowledge and understanding of the surrounding world; physical development; creative development.

Children are assessed all year round during the last year of the foundation stage, in order to have a clear view of the acquired skills before entering primary school.

Staff: the staff is assigned by groups and not by teaching subjects, although children can sometimes take lessons with specialized teachers, for example  music and physical education. Usually the staff employed has a teaching qualification, obtained after a specific course of studies lasting 3 years, or a qualification as a childcare assistant. They are employed on a fixed-term or as permanent staff, full-time or part-time, directly from the institute or from the local Authority.

Testing practices in British Schools

British students are the most tested ones….. (1) European countries. Their assessment starts from the age of six or seven and then their progress is measured  ….. (2) they are 18 when they generally finish school. Those ….. (3) are particularly academic can ….. (4)  special treatment as they might be fast tracked  by the exam system.

In Britain, schools and teachers are monitored, as well. There is an external body, known as  OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education), which  is responsible ….. (5) checking the teaching procedures in state schools. Inspectors regularly visit schools to give them scores after ….. (6)  teachers and classes.

Moreover, schools  are due to publish the ….. (7) exam results which are also recorded in the national newspapers so that families can consult  them to find out the best schools for their children. As a consequence, although the national school system is supposed to guarantee social equality, it could ….. (8), in some cases,  a different effect.

It may interest you that in some secondary British schools students  often attend  different classes according to their ability. This system ,….. (9)“streaming”, can have some advantages since the precence of lower students  can sometimes hold up the class.

On the other hand, it could reduce  the students’ motivation  producing low self-esteem and even depression  ….. 10)  faster students usually set a good example  since they help to keep the standards high.

Exercise 1- Read the text above and choose A,B or C to complete it

Tip: try to gess the missing word before you look at the options

  1. A) in B) of   C) that
  2. A) for B) until  C) since
  3. A) which B) who  C) whose
  4. A) receiving B) received  C) receive
  5. A) on B) that  C) for
  6. A) observe B) observing C) observeing
  7. A) students B) students’    C) student’s
  8. A) produce B) producing  C) to produce
  9. A) known as  B)  known to C) know as
  10. A) where B) whereas C) as

 Exercise 2 – Say if the sentences are true ( T) or false (F)

  1. British pupils aren’t so tested as their European fellows …..
  2. Their assessment goes on until they leave school …..
  3. The best students are never given special treatment …..
  4. British school teachers aren’t checked at all …..
  5. The Ofsted inspectors are supposed to give scores to students …..
  6. Faster learners have a good influence on their fellows …..
  7. “Streaming” can affect the students’ mental stability. …..

Exercise 3 – Rewrite the sentences using between two and five words, including the one given

  1. British students are more tested than European ones (AS)

European students…………………………………………… British ones

  1. OFSTED is responsible for checking state teaching procedures  (ARE)

State teaching procedures……………………………………………..OFSTED

The students’ exam results are recorded in the national newspapers ( PUBLISH)

Schools in the UK  ………………………………………………………in the  national newspapers

  1. Students are often placed in different classes according to their ability ( DEPEND ON)

The presence of a student  ………………………………………………. his/her ability

GLOSSARY

Read, translate and learn the following verbs related to education

Do homework                           …………………………………..

Do an exam/test                       …………………………………..

Pass/fail an exam/test             …………………………………..

Revise for an exam/test           …………………………………..

Cheat                                           …………………………………..

Get good/bad marks                 …………………………………..

Get detention                             …………………………………..

KEYS

Ex. 1 :1.A; 2)B; 3)B; 4)C; 5)C; 6)B; 7)B; 8)A; 9)A;10)B

Ex.2: 1F; 2)T; 3)F; 4)F; 5)F; 6)T; 7)T;

Ex.3: 1.European students aren’t so tested as British ones

           2.State teaching procedures are checked by OFSTED

           3.Schools in the UK  publish the students’ exam results in the national newspapers

           4.The presence of a student in a class depends on his/her ability

“Let’s go on focusing on teaching careers”

According to Eurydice report, the United Kingdom (England and Wales) are going to increase the recruitment of graduates from certain subjects. In England, the Department for Education offers training bursaries and scholarships to attract graduates into teaching. The most required subjects are: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computing, languages and geography. In Wales, teacher training incentives are offered to train to teach “specified” subjects in shortage in secondary education. The highest incentives apply to studying mathematics, Welsh, physics and chemistry, followed by modern foreign languages and ICT/computer science.

Unfortunately in Wales a huge number of teaching vacancies remaining unfilled, and schools’ ability to fill them varies greatly by subject, area, school or role. While  In 2015, the Czech Republic made an Amendment to the Act on Education Staff to prevent the problem of lack of teachers. The Act contains a lot of measures to open up the recruitment of teachers, also accepting people with different qualifications. Another strategy for Education Policy of the Czech Republic until 2020 is the funds increasing for salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff in education.

Although shortages and oversupply seem to be contradictory, they strangely co-exist in several countries due to a not balanced distribution of teachers for subjects and geographical areas. Same problem in Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Liechtenstein and Montenegro. In Germany, for instance, there is a huge number of teachers for general education subjects at Gymnasium on one side, while on the other there is a shortage of teachers in vocational subjects at upper secondary level or in vocational schools.  In Greece, a shortage of teachers in some areas co-exists with a general oversupply of teachers due to a stop in recruitment of permanent teaching staff. Because of the economic crisis, the educational authority does not got permanent teachers but instead covers the vacancies by employing provisional staff.

In Italy, recent policies try to solve the oversupply in some subjects and in some geographical areas that had a “waiting lists of qualified teachers”. A special enrol plan was made in 2015/16 in order to solve the long-standing problem of teachers “waiting lists” (graduatorie ad esaurimento). In fact, more than 85.000 teachers, who have been employed on short-term contracts for long, are now teachers on a permanent basis.

Later a legislative decree on ITE (Initial teacher education) approved in April 2017, prospective secondary education teachers holding their Master’s degree and 24 credits in the pedagogical areas will have to pass an open competition to enrol in a one-year university specialisation followed by a two-year traineeship. During the traineeship they will gradually take on teaching roles including replacements for absent teachers, avoiding lists of temporary teachers. At the end of the three years, if they pass the assessment they are employed permanently.

Lithuania has same shortages in rural areas, too. In any case the main challenge is teachers oversupply. In fact teachers often are not employed full time and with a  low salary and this, of course, makes the profession unattractive for the youth. In many other countries, too (such as: Cyprus, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia), the main challenge is oversupply.

Another problem is the ageing workforce and teacher retention due to the demographic trends, 16 countries are challenged with an ageing teachers population. The latest Eurostat data shows that 36 % of teachers in primary and secondary schools were 50 years old or more in 2015, take note that in Italy 57% teachers have this age, but this happens not only in Italy, in fact we find high proportions also in Bulgaria, Estonia and Lithuania  Germany and Latvia. About nine per cent of teachers in the EU were over 60, with the highest shares in Italy and Estonia. The average age of teachers in the workforce is increasing year-on-year while teachers aged under 30 is decreasing.

Welcome to E U R O P E: Education systems

“Let’s focus on Teaching careers”

The quality of teaching is a very important factor for young people to be inspired in the classroom and reach their full potential. Good teachers make for good education systems, and both are essential to give to the youth the best preparation for adult life as active and productive members of society. The role of teachers is more and more important as Europe rises to meet its educational, social and economic challenges but the teaching profession is becoming less attractive as a career choice. Higher expectations in terms of student outcomes and greater pressures due to a more diverse student population combined with rapid technological innovation are having a strict impact on the teaching job. European leaders and national policy-makers have committed themselves as part of Education and Training 2020 to identify the challenges and go deep into the best ways to give effective support for teachers and raise their status.

Many countries have lack of teachers. In some cases these are linked to specific subjects or geographical areas, while in others they are due to the ageing teacher population, drop-out rates from the profession and its attractiveness.

The recent Communication from the European Commission on school development and excellent teaching (European Commission, 2017a) emphasises the need to make teaching careers more attractive and  change the paradigm of the profession from static to dynamic.

Teaching today involves lifelong career development, adapting to new challenges, collaborating with peers, using new technologies and being innovative. This calls for recognition that the teaching environment is constantly changing and teachers need the necessary policy reforms and support to be able to respond proactively to the new demands.

The Communication looks at a number of areas that can be acted upon to improve the working conditions and efficacy of teachers. Selection and recruitment of new teachers should take into account a broader set of attitudes in addition to academic merits; a bridged access to the profession should be provided for those from underrepresented groups and other professions; and conditions should be created which would provide for a better gender balance.

To enhance the attractiveness of the profession, a focus should be placed on the provision of good contractual and employment conditions which can compete with professions requiring equivalent education levels. Opportunities for salary and career progression should also be provided. More attention should be given to continuing professional development and its relevance to teachers’ professional needs; the ways in which it is delivered and the bodies and levels involved in deciding on what is relevant should be re-examined. Support in the early stages of a teacher’s career and throughout their professional life should be accessible to all.

Forms of collaboration with peers, team-work and peer-learning should be incentivised and become the norm across Europe.

The majority of European countries go on planning specifically for teacher supply and demand. Top-level education authorities carry out this task themselves in all the countries where it takes place. In addition, in five education systems local-level authorities also develop their own plans in this area (Belgium (Flemish Community), Austria, Sweden, the United Kingdom (Scotland) and Switzerland).While many education systems rely only on short-term planning, Seven education systems carry out only long-term planning – some of these for more than 10 years ahead (Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, and Norway).

In most European education systems, schools or local authorities are responsible for teachers recruiting. This decentralised approach is usually based on a system of open recruitment and means that vacancies are managed directly by schools or local authorities and teachers apply for specific vacant posts and the recruitment is based on  competitive examinations or candidate lists.

In the United Kingdom (Wales), regulations have been made to allow for the development and implementation of an individual level school workforce census. This will include individual identifying data items such as name, date of birth and national insurance number. Wales previously had no central data collection that gathered the level of workforce information needed to support more detailed workforce planning. Following a consultation which ended in March 2017, the Education (Supply of Information about the School Workforce) (Wales) Regulations 2017 came into force on 31 October 2017.

To be continued…