The Annual Conference of the European Education Policy Network on Teachers and School Leaders (EEPN) was held in Trim, Ireland on 3-4 November 2022. Nearly 80 participants from all over Europe had the opportunity to discuss the complex topic of the year: Teachers and school leaders towards a sustainable whole school approach for quality and inclusive education based on the research done and the policy recommendations published.
The conference covered the following topics (the links lead to the research papers):
- Teachers’ and school leaders’ competences and support for effective blended learning
- A whole school support and networking to ensure school success for all
- A whole school approach for sustainable development, with a particular focus on the role and competences of school leaders to support the implementation of it
- Schools as learning communities to support teachers’ and school leaders’ professional learning and well-being
Michael Teutsch, the Head of the Schools and Multilingualism Unit of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture emphasised the importance of research around teachers and their appreciation for the work of the Network in his opening video message. It was followed by a thought-provoking keynote presentation by Harold Hislop, the recently retired Chief Inspector of Ireland who gave a very interesting and in-depth presentation of the Irish school system’s state of the art.
Making quality, inclusive education a reality
Peter Kelly (European Education Research Association, Plymouth University) summarised the overarching messages of the four research papers covering the topics of the conference. He emphasised the importance of building community in schools, including school leaders, teachers, non-teaching staff, students, parents and external stakeholders in making quality, inclusive education a reality. The second and closely linked message was about the need for active participation of all these players. The third key element is the elaboration of the professionals in charge, namely school leaders and teachers in it.
The EEPN policy recommendations were debated in a lively interactive plenary session conducted by the European Education Trade Union Confederation and the European Federation of Education Employers.
On the second day of the conference, the participants had the opportunity to share their views and own practice related to the four research topics in workshops. The conference also provided an opportunity for EEPN partners – some of them ESHA members – to discuss various follow-up activities they are planning once the EEPN project funding period is over.