In its focus on communities and their schools that are permanently or temporarily outside their mainstream educational, social, political or ideological norms, Network 14's particular interests tend, by definition, to be those of minorities.
Nevertheless, the network enjoyed an excellent conference in Geneva, finally accepting a symposium of six paper presentations, 11 individual papers and two poster presentations.
There was significant variation in the quality of the proposals and the reviewers were forced to reject those that did not meet the criteria as regards the quality of the research and relevance to the network's themes.
Such themes are typically research in small communities and schools in rural or urban settings, and with transient groups such as families whose children are in transition from home to school, or from one educational phase to another.
Participants in Geneva (13-16th September) focused their attention especially on the following themes:
- Home school co-operation and parents’ involvement in educational partnership discourse.
- Pupils' life course perspective and well-being in educational institutions.
These themes integrated also to the overall conference theme, namely, “Transforming Knowledge”, and produced relevant reflections with a particular emphasis on the discourse of educational partnership between the parents, teachers and pupils.
The symposium “School-home Co-operation: a Cultural Given” was in two parts: “Changing Concepts and Rationales” and “The Child Between” and gathered a significant group of researchers from different parts of Europe (e.g. Denmark, Portugal, Poland) to build the home-school research network inside Network 14.
Each paper session gathered between 10 and 15 participants, and all of our presenters turned up.
This select band of participants proved to be an ideal number for discussion, but highlighted that these research themes, like the people they concern, have often been marginalised in educational research. They do, however, have a place in Network 14 which aims to provide a forum for the wide range of European national issues, as for example, where national policy overrides the rights of a local population.
By bringing these issues to a European forum in network 14, we aim to bring these minority issues to wider attention.
Finally, we would like to thank the conference organisers in Geneva for a well organised conference, in which the settings and the chairing procedures worked well.