04 SES 14, Leading Schools Towards Inclusion in Different European Countries
Inclusive education is a topic that is discussed among all European countries. It is connected to questions of equity and democracy in education as well as barriers to these aspects, incorporating the social and economic frame of contemporary societies. While inclusion is facing barriers across any European country and its educational system, the barriers itself differ as well as the traditions and interests that characterize the specific European country (Allan & Sturm, 2016). School development towards inclusion is confronted with these barriers on a system as well as on a school level. It is the goal of this symposium to offer insight and to compare the barriers of inclusive education in different European countries, Austria, Germany and Switzerland, on the level of developing schools and to discuss how schools can be led towards inclusion.
The first paper evaluates key tasks and successful essentials of leadership activities for principals to develop their schools in an inclusive way. Based on findings from an empirical research project it is argued that important key tasks for principals are to offer clear, transparent and effective structures for inclusive school development, to personally support and encourage the staff members, and initiate ideas and visions for school improvement on all levels of the organisation. Also, it is suggested that acting as a leader to transform an organisation’s values, structures and practices are crucial for inclusive school development to avoid struggling on identified barriers.
The second paper focuses on school development in Austria. First the current status of school development towards inclusive education will be described. Then the challenges and demands on inclusive education will be discussed on society, national and local level. In the center of the educational policy is the restructuring of the school system by developing “Inklusive Modellregionen” with a lot of challenges and demands for the governance and adminstration in order to support the development of inclusive schools. Last but not least helpful measures of inner and outer school development will be described.
The third paper deals with school development in Switzerland, focussing on cantonal conditions regarding inclusive education and the scope of actions of principals. Based on a document analysis of cantonal and communal standards and policies regarding inclusive education, it presents exemplary comparisons to highlight differences and commonalities concerning the formal framework for school leading in different cantons. Switzerland is divided in four language areas that go along with different ways of organizing schooling. In the paper cantonal structures from three language regions – the German, French and Italian – will be compared with one another.
While the projects share a common thematic focal point, the methodological frames differ. This allows taking into account different aspects and perspectives. We expect to compare the barriers that inclusive school development faces in different European countries and identify commonalities, differences, successful approaches and further opportunities for developing inclusive schools. While the German speaking countries and cantons structure their school systems along the idea of achievement, a different way is chosen in the French and Italian speaking areas of Switzerland. They function as a maximal contrast in our symposium. Those might serve as a starting point for comparative educational research on the named topic and between the selected countries.
Allan, Julie; Sturm, Tanja (2016). Inklusive Schulentwicklung. In: Sturm, Tanja; Wagner-Willi, Monika (Hrsg.), Handbuch schulische Inklusion. Opladen, Berlin, Toronto: Budrich.
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