Technical ReportPDF Available

‘Policies and practices for more equality and inclusion in and through education: Evidence and policy guidance from European research projects funded under FP6 and FP7

  • KPMG Secteur Public

Abstract and Figures

Education policy needs to cater for diversity and enable all citizens to succeed in education and to develop their full potential according to their specific needs and irrespective of their backgrounds. However, in reality, educational inequalities are a key challenge to education systems across the EU, often linked to socioeconomic disadvantage, low participation rates in early childhood education, low parental educational level and family support, ethnic or migrant background amongst others. This report highlights concrete policies and practices that work to disrupt or prevent educational disadvantage. The Key Findings are based on a review of 20 research projects funded under the Sixth and Seventh EU Framework Programmes for Research and Development (FP6 and FP7). The review was commissioned by the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) and carried out by the Network of Experts on Social Aspects of Education and Training (NESET II).
No caption available
No caption available
No caption available
No caption available
No caption available
Content may be subject to copyright.
Evidence and policy guidance from European research projects funded
under FP6 and FP7
This document has been prepared for the European Commission; however, it reflects the views only of the authors, and the
Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Europe Direct is a service to help you find answers
to your questions about the European Union.
Freephone number (*):
00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11
(*) The information given is free, as are most calls (though some operators, phone boxes or hotels may
charge you).
More information on the European Union is available on the Internet (
Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2016
ISBN 978-92-79-49058-3
doi: 10.2766/300891
© European Union, 2016
Cover image: ©
Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.
Irma Budginaitė, PPMI
Hanna Siarova, PPMI
Dalibor Sternadel, PPMI
Greta Mackonytė, PPMI
Simonas Algirdas Spurga, PPMI
Suzanne Gatt, University of Malta
Laura Masiulienė, PPMI
Dragana Abramov, Population and Social Policy Consultants
Georgios K. Zarifis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Jonathan Boyd, Freelance Copy-Editor / Proof-reader
Patricia Davies, Freelance Copy-Editor / Proof-reader
The authors are grateful to Georges Van Landeghem, Greta
Fedaravičiūtė, Elma Caicedo, Rūta Mašidlauskaitė, Viktorija
Rusinaitė and Gabrielius Sužiedėlis for their additional support
during the report preparation.
Public Policy and Management Institute
Gedimino ave. 50, LT - 01110 Vilnius, Lithuania
Phone: +370 5 2620338 Fax: +370 5 2625410
Director Haroldas Brožaitis
Please cite this publication as:
Budginaitė, I., Siarova, H., Sternadel, D., Mackonytė, G., Spurga, S., ‘Policies and practices for more equality and inclusion in and
through education: Evidence and policy guidance from European research projects funded under FP6 and FP7’, NESET II report,
Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2016. doi: 10.2766/300891.
CONTENTS ........................................................................................................................................... 4
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................... 5
RÉSUMÉ ............................................................................................................................................. 12
ZUSAMMENFASSUNG ......................................................................................................................... 19
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................... 26
1.1. Relevance of this review for policy makers ............................................................................. 26
CHAPTER 2. CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF INEQUALITIES IN EDUCATION ........................................ 27
2.1. The problem ............................................................................................................................. 27
2.2. Some critical factors - evidence from the 20 research projects .............................................. 28
2.3. The cycle of disadvantage ........................................................................................................ 32
EDUCATION AND TRAINING ................................................................................................................ 34
3.1. The importance of access policies in education ...................................................................... 34
3.2. Transitions ................................................................................................................................ 38
3.3. Education governance ............................................................................................................. 42
3.4. Flexibility of curricula and teacher preparedness .................................................................... 46
TRAINING ........................................................................................................................................... 50
4.1. Inclusive school practices ......................................................................................................... 50
4.2. Vocational, adult education and training, informal and non-formal learning ......................... 57
CHAPTER 5. CROSS-SECTORAL SYNERGIES ........................................................................................... 61
5.1. Links between education and training and the labour market ............................................... 61
5.2. Links between education and training and the labour market ............................................... 61
SOCIAL EXCLUSION? GAPS AND POTENTIAL FOR FUTURE RESEARCH .................................................... 63
REFERENCES ....................................................................................................................................... 70
ANNEXES ........................................................................................................................................... 80
Education policy needs to cater for diversity and enable all citizens to succeed in education and to
develop their full potential according to their specific needs and irrespective of their backgrounds.
However, in reality, educational inequalities are a key challenge to education systems across the
EU, often linked to socioeconomic disadvantage, low participation rates in early childhood
education, low parental educational level and family support, ethnic or migrant background
amongst others.
This report highlights concrete policies and practices that work to disrupt or prevent educational
. The Key Findings are based on a review of 20 research projects funded under the
Sixth and Seventh EU Framework Programmes for Research and Development (FP6 and FP7)
. The
review was commissioned by the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) and
carried out by the Network of Experts on Social Aspects of Education and Training (NESET II).
The Key Findings and Lessons for Policy and Practice described below will help to support
Member States in their efforts to deliver on the objectives set out in the Paris Declaration
Promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination
through education as well as the 2015 Joint Report on the implementation of the Education and
Training 2020 Strategic Framework.
This summary presents Key Messages stemming from the review of 20 research projects, followed
by an overview of more specific Challenges and Lessons for Policy and Practice according to the
following four themes:
1. Lifelong learning, skills and employability;
2. Inclusive education for disadvantaged children;
3. Equity and efficiency of education and training systems;
4. Empowering educators and the teaching staff.
Key Messages
Educational disadvantage is both a cause and a consequence of poverty and social exclusion;
A learner's socioeconomic background remains the strongest determinant of educational
success in all Member States and all levels of education;
Equity in education is compatible with strong learning outcomes and high performance;
Investing in the quality of early childhood education and care is crucial, as it establishes the
foundation for further learning and helps break the cycle of disadvantage;
Education and training systems that uphold high standards of quality for all, foster personalised,
inclusive approaches, support early intervention, and target disadvantaged learners, can be
powerful drivers of social inclusion;
Education and training systems which allocate pupils to different types of education/institution
at an early age exacerbate the effect that socioeconomic background may have on educational
attainment and do not raise efficiency in the long run;
This review does not cover higher education level taking into account the scope of 20 projects reviewed.
LLIGHTinEurope, LLL2010, NEUJOBS, PROFIT,, SI-DRIVE, WORKABLE, YIPPEE (see Annexes 1, 3-5).
Efficiency and equity can be increased by improving recruitment procedures and quality of
teacher force in disadvantaged areas, and by designing autonomy and accountability systems
which avoid inequity;
Schools alone cannot disrupt intergenerational cycles of deprivation. Cross-policy synergies are
needed for more effective intervention against educational disadvantage;
Monitoring frameworks, complemented by specific targets for under-represented groups, are
essential for improving equity. Yet, few Member States have systems that collect data on all
phases of education and training that can track progress over time in terms of participation and
attainment of disadvantaged groups;
Rigorous evaluation of the impact of reforms and interventions aiming to improve equity in
education and training is critical, yet is not widespread in EU Member States.
I. Lifelong learning, skills and employability
Key Findings
Lifelong learning does not sufficiently attract or reach out to adults with lower skills or
coming from disadvantaged backgrounds;
Income can be a significant barrier to participating in vocational and tertiary education,
especially for lower-paid people;
Vocational qualifications and prior learning are often unrecognised by employers and
educational institutions;
Employers invest too little in lower skills training and when they do provide it, tend to rely
heavily on government assistance;
Language learning courses often fail to meet the needs of adult migrants.
Lessons for Policy and Practice
Promoting and supporting lifelong learning
Continuing to encourage higher levels of educational attainment among those who are
disadvantaged, including through subsidising learning for adults with low incomes;
Providing incentives to employed adults to take up training which will lead to higher skill levels;
Offering meaningful and attractive second chance learning opportunities to improve
employment outlooks for those who left education and training prematurely;
Using community-based lifelong learning initiatives in local and decentralised centres to reach
disadvantaged and marginalised learners, especially amongst the low skilled, migrants and
Delivering learning at flexible times, providing preparation for admission and offering modular
Funding and incentivising SMEs to provide and support training;
Providing organisational support and assistance including financial incentives to train lower
skilled workers and to improve their skills and attitudes towards learning;
Customising learning to correspond to the needs of the employer as well as the employee;
Providing flexible work-based training to reduce any disruption to work time and work needs;
Eliminating ‘dead-ends’ in upper-secondary level and providing more flexible, permeable and
diversified learning pathways and access routes into post-compulsory and further learning.
Supporting access to lifelong learning to adult migrants
Supporting introductory programmes, including language courses, cultural skills and assistance
in entering the labour market;
Providing language learning courses that are designed for adults in terms of content, are
offered at a time that is compatible with work and family commitments, and are offered at
easily accessible locations;
Prioritising the delivery of language courses to those who are least fluent in the host country’s
language, which will expedite their ability to communicate with schools, health services, and
Promoting the participation of the whole family in the learning process;
Working in partnership with community groups to design and develop services so that they
reflect the real needs of communities.
II. Inclusive education for disadvantaged children
Key Findings
While the socioeconomic situation of ethnic minorities and migrants has a considerable effect
on their children’s educational attainment, it is clear that:
The children of recent migrants and migrants from outside Europe have lower attainment
levels than children in the same socioeconomic groups in some Member States at all
stages of education; some of this can be attributed to transitory work and unsettled
Some ethnic minority groups’ children have persistently lower educational attainment at
all stages of education;
Parents from disadvantaged background are less able to support their children in school;
Most often, teaching and learning does not challenge negative perceptions of migrants,
minorities nor are teachers prepared to challenge parents about the support they give to
their children’s education;
Migrant and refugee children are disproportionately in lower attainment streams and
lower educational/institutional routes because of admissions policies; compounding the
problem, their parents are not able to challenge the system and express their preferred
A curriculum that is too rigid, centralised, and fails to reflect the diversity of the implicated
learners, can have a negative impact on the learning process, particularly for socially
disadvantaged children.
Lessons for Policy and Practice
Ensuring inclusive education and providing support for migrant and ethnic minority
Quickly integrating new migrant children into mainstream classes that reflect their cognitive
skills/age, by means of bilingual classes, multi-cultural curricula, and by training and employing
teachers from the same backgrounds;
Providing to migrant and refugee children who lack language skills the necessary resources to
hasten their proficiency and to integrate them into an appropriate stage of schooling quicker;
Ensuring migrant, refugee and Roma children are not excluded from mainstream education;
Giving migrants the same choices for their children’s education as any other parents have, and
ensuring that children have access to and take up additional support before and after school;
Eliminating both ‘allocation to different types of educational institution’ and ‘streaming’,
particularly before the age of 13;
Implementing diversity-conscious policies with culturally sensitive curricula to help enhance
equal opportunities for all students, foster good relationships, and boost positive self-image
of children from disadvantaged social backgrounds;
Promoting a holistic approach to learner development that encompasses personal, social,
cultural and academic aspects, accompanied by targeted support;
Implementing effective innovative pedagogies and practices such as web-based, cooperative
or learner-centred approaches, which help unite learners and facilitate cooperation;
Providing effective targeted support to students, including all-day and open schools, linguistic
support, individualised support, tutoring programmes, socioemotional and behavioural
Promoting and supporting the involvement of families and local communities
Reaching out to migrant parents to ensure they take up child care, play and learning
opportunities for their children;
Explaining to migrant parents what support they may need to give to their children’s learning
and how they can be involved in schooling;
Involving mentors and mediators from the local community in the school workforce to inform
and engage migrant parents and to supplement the school’s careers advice and guidance;
Improving parents’ literacy and numeracy so they may better assist their children in primary
schooling, by involving them in school learning, and by providing them with opportunities to
teach their children (for instance, through games and learning activities);
Encouraging parents’ aspirations for their children, and improving parents’ knowledge and
understanding of tertiary education.
III. Equity and efficiency of education and training system
Key Findings
Fragmentation of education systems has led to unclear divisions of responsibilities and
ineffective implementation of national strategies. This is especially true in areas that are
cross-sectoral, such as the education of children in care, formal and non-formal adult
education, and VET;
Ineffective governance can create additional barriers for stakeholders at various levels,
such as coordination problems, under-recognition of qualifications, unclear division of
responsibilities and ineffective public-funding strategies;
At present, very few EU Member States have mature monitoring systems that collect
data on disadvantaged groups’ educational participation and attainment at all phases of
education and training, and that can link the data in order to track progress over time.
The amount of resources devoted to schooling is not a primary factor in determining
student performance and the quality of educational provision;
The way funding is allocated can either enable or hinder equality and inclusion;
Most of the funding in education and training goes towards financing teachers’ salaries,
and there are very few resources allocated for substantive improvements of the learning
environment and for developing more successful pedagogical strategies;
Financial barriers often cause a bottleneck to accessing non-compulsory education,
whether it is early childhood education and care, or higher and adult education. This is
especially true for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Admission and transitions
School segregation leads more ethnic minority and socially disadvantaged children to be
distributed in poorer quality and lower performing schools, which can further exaggerate
social exclusion and inequality;
Admission policies based on free school choice or catchment area requirement, if
uncontrolled, can increase school segregation and inequality;
Streaming is often used alongside a performance-driven, competitive approach to
teaching and learning, which is particularly detrimental for disadvantaged learners;
Differentiation of post-secondary education generally increases access to education via
a range of pathways and courses, however, it also tends to increase inequality in access
to higher quality or higher status academic pathways;
Fewer flexible and good quality lifelong learning opportunities leads to lower
participation in formal and non-formal adult education.
Lessons for Policy and Practice
Promoting good governance and monitoring
Ensuring adequate levels of school autonomy to enable municipalities and schools to be
innovative and flexible in addressing the specific needs of learners;
Linking the introduction of greater autonomy to comprehensive systems of accountability and
quality assurance;
Promoting participatory governance by enabling multi-stakeholder collaboration between key
educational stakeholders;
Putting in place monitoring systems that can track disadvantages and inform effective
Introducing early warning systems of children’s problems or potential drop-outs, alongside
comprehensive monitoring.
Ensuring sustainable investment and funding
Ensuring that a relatively high proportion of GDP is allocated to education and training, with
teacher salaries roughly equivalent to the average of other graduate occupations;
Providing targeted financing to disadvantaged schools and individuals to increase participation
in higher or further education;
Providing additional funding for schools to enable them to respond to needs of learners from
disadvantaged background, including language learning and guidance, additional activities and
targeted support to learners;
Ensuring equitable access to and continuity of education and training
Extending compulsory education and ensuring that educational experiences are uninterrupted
and of good quality;
Practicing sensitive admission policies to reduce school segregation, which take into account
the ethnic and social composition of school districts, via the system of ‘controlled choice’ or
varying catchment area requirements;
Promoting ethnically, socially or mixed-ability schools and classes to promote interaction and
acceptance of difference;
Postponing the age of allocation to particular educational routes, increasing opportunities to
change tracks and providing high curricular standards for students in all schools;
Engaging relevant stakeholders - parents, the community, civil society, public and private sector
organisations in the learning process to improve pupils’ learning experience and overall well-
IV. Empowering the educators and the teaching staff
Key Findings
Teachers and school principals are often not equipped to work with growing diversity in
the classroom;
Teaching in a multicultural or multilingual setting is one of the priority areas where
teachers report the highest need for professional development in many European
Although most initial teacher education programmes include some form of diversity
training, it is often in the form of a single module or elective, which is unlikely to have a
major lasting impact throughout a teacher’s career;
Even though most competence frameworks for teachers include awareness of diversity
issues, the concepts are seldom operationalised and implementation guidelines are rarely
Lessons for Policy and Practice
Improving the competences of the teaching workforce
Explicitly defining compulsory teacher competences in teaching disadvantaged groups;
Reinforcing the sociological, socio-psychological and socio-educational units of teacher
training programmes to raise teacher awareness of the specific difficulties facing
disadvantaged learners and their needs;
Identifying the teaching methods that most effectively increase the motivation and improve
educational attainment of disadvantaged learners;
Ensuring that initial teacher education and continuous professional development include the
subjects of diversity, intercultural education, multilingual teaching and innovative pedagogies.
Ensuring diversity in the teaching workforce
Educating and employing cultural mediators, such as teaching assistants or family liaison
officers with migrant or ethnic minority background, to help build links between parents and
schools and engage parents in their children’s learning;
Ensuring that schools’ workforce, including teachers and teaching assistants, is representative
of the diversity of schools’ communities, recruitment to initial teacher education should be
appropriately targeted, and the qualifications of immigrant teachers should be recognized.
La politique éducative doit tenir compte de la diversité et permettre à tous les citoyens de réussir
dans l’éducation et développer leur plein potentiel en fonction de leurs besoins spécifiques et
indépendamment de leur origine. Toutefois, en réalité, les inégalités en matière d’éducation
constituent un défi majeur pour les systèmes éducatifs dans toute l’UE, souvent liées à un
handicap socio-économique, à de faibles taux de participation à l’éducation de la petite enfance,
au faible niveau de scolarité et de soutien familial des parents, à leur origine ethnique ou
migratoire, entre autres.
Ce rapport met en lumière des politiques et des pratiques concrètes qui visent à interrompre ou
prévenir les handicaps éducatifs
. Ses résultats clés sont basés sur l’examen de 20 projets de
recherche financés dans le cadre des sixième et septième programmes-cadres européens de
recherche et de développement (FP6 et FP7)
. Le rapport a été commandé par la Direction générale
de l'éducation et de la culture (DG EAC) et réalisé par le Réseau d’experts sur les aspects sociaux de
l’éducation et de la formation (NESET II).
Les résultats clés et leçons pour des politiques et des pratiques décrites ci-dessous permettront
d’aider les États membres dans leurs efforts pour atteindre les objectifs énoncés dans la
Déclaration de Paris intitulée « Promouvoir la citoyenneté et les valeurs communes de liberté, de
tolérance et de non-discrimination par l’éducation », ainsi que dans le Rapport conjoint 2015 sur
la mise en œuvre du cadre stratégique « Éducation et formation 2020 ».
Ce résumé présente les messages clés résultant de l’examen des 20 projets de recherche, suivis
d’un aperçu des défis et leçons pour les politiques et les pratiques les plus spécifiques selon les
quatre thèmes suivants :
1. Apprentissage, compétences et employabilité tout au long de la vie ;
2. Éducation inclusive pour les enfants défavorisés ;
3. Équité et efficacité des systèmes d’éducation et de formation ;
4. Responsabilisation des éducateurs et du personnel enseignant.
Messages clés
Le handicap éducatif est à la fois une cause et une conséquence de la pauvreté et de l’exclusion
sociale ;
L’origine socio-économique des apprenants demeure le facteur déterminant le plus important
de la réussite scolaire dans tous les États membres et à tous les niveaux de l’éducation ;
L’équité dans l’éducation est compatible avec des résultats d’apprentissage solides et une
performance élevée ;
Investir dans la qualité de l’éducation et l’accueil de la petite enfance est essentiel car cela
établit les bases pour un futur apprentissage et permet d’interrompre le cycle du handicap
social ;
Les systèmes d’éducation et de formation qui respectent des normes élevées en matière de
qualité pour tous favorisent des approches personnalisées et inclusives, soutiennent une
Cet examen n’inclut pas l’enseignement supérieur compte tenu du champ des 20 projets examinés.
LLIGHTinEurope, LLL2010, NEUJOBS, PROFIT,, SI-DRIVE, WORKABLE, YIPPEE (voir Annexes 1, 3-5).
intervention précoce et ciblent les apprenants défavorisés, peuvent constituer de puissants
moteurs de l’inclusion sociale ;
Les systèmes d’éducation et de formation qui répartissent les élèves dans les différentes filières
d’enseignement ou d’institutions à un âge précoce accentuent l’effet que le milieu socio-
économique peut avoir sur le niveau de scolarité, et n’améliorent pas l’efficacité à long terme ;
L’efficacité et l’équité peuvent être accrues en améliorant les procédures de recrutement et la
qualité du corps enseignant dans les zones défavorisées, en élaborant des systèmes
d’autonomie et de responsabilité qui évitent l’iniquité ;
Les écoles seules ne peuvent pas interrompre les cycles intergénérationnels de précarité. Les
synergies entre les politiques sont nécessaires pour une intervention plus efficace contre le
handicap éducatif ;
Des cadres de suivi, complétés par des objectifs spécifiques pour les groupes sous-représentés,
sont essentiels pour améliorer l’équité. Pourtant, peu d’États membres disposent de systèmes
permettant de recueillir des données sur toutes les phases de l’éducation et de la formation,
capables de suivre les progrès dans le temps en termes de participation et de résultats des
groupes défavorisés ;
Une évaluation rigoureuse de l’impact des réformes et des interventions visant à améliorer
l’équité dans l’éducation et la formation est essentielle, mais elle n’est pas répandue dans les
États membres de l’UE.
I. Apprentissage, compétences et employabilité tout au long de la vie
Résultats clés
L’apprentissage tout au long de la vie n’attire pas ou ne touche pas suffisamment les
adultes peu qualifiés ou issus de milieux défavorisés ;
Le revenu peut être un obstacle important à la participation à l’enseignement
professionnel et supérieur, en particulier pour les personnes à faible salaire ;
Les qualifications professionnelles et l’apprentissage antérieur sont souvent peu reconnus
par les employeurs et les institutions éducatives ;
Les employeurs investissent trop peu dans les formations des travailleurs peu qualifiés et,
lorsqu’ils le font, ils ont tendance à avoir fortement recours à l’aide de l’État ;
Les cours d’apprentissage des langues ne répondent souvent pas aux besoins des migrants
Leçons pour les politiques et les pratiques
Promouvoir et soutenir l’apprentissage tout au long de la vie
Continuer à encourager un niveau scolaire plus élevé chez les personnes défavorisées,
notamment en subventionnant l’apprentissage des adultes à faible revenu ;
Inciter les adultes salariés à suivre une formation qui conduira à des niveaux de qualification
plus élevés ;
Offrir des opportunités d’enseignement de la « deuxième chance » pertinentes et attrayantes
pour améliorer les perspectives d’emploi de ceux qui ont quitté prématurément l’éducation et
la formation ;
Utiliser des initiatives locales d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie dans des centres locaux et
décentralisés pour toucher les apprenants défavorisés et marginalisés, notamment parmi les
travailleurs peu qualifiés, les migrants et les femmes ;
Dispenser l’apprentissage à des horaires flexibles, proposer une préparation à l’admission et
des cours modulaires ;
Financer et encourager les PME à fournir et soutenir la formation ;
Proposer un soutien organisationnel et une assistance, y compris des incitations financières
pour former les travailleurs moins qualifiés et améliorer leurs compétences et leurs attitudes
vis-à-vis de l’apprentissage ;
Personnaliser l’apprentissage pour répondre aux besoins tant des employeurs que des
employés ;
Proposer une formation souple en milieu professionnel pour réduire toute perturbation des
heures de travail et des besoins du travail ;
Éliminer les « voies sans issue » au niveau secondaire supérieur et proposer des parcours
d’apprentissage plus souples, perméables et diversifiés ainsi que des voies d’accès à un
apprentissage post-obligatoire et ultérieur.
Soutenir l’accès à l’apprentissage tout au long de la vie pour les migrants adultes
Soutenir les programmes d’initiation, y compris les cours de langue, les compétences
culturelles et l’assistance à l’entrée sur le marché du travail ;
Proposer des cours d’apprentissage des langues qui sont conçus pour des adultes en termes
de contenu, proposés à un horaire compatible avec le travail et les obligations familiales, et
qui sont proposés dans des endroits facilement accessibles ;
Prioriser l’offre de cours de langue à ceux qui connaissent le moins bien la langue du pays
d’accueil, ce qui accélérera leur capacité à communiquer avec les écoles, les services de santé
et les employeurs ;
Promouvoir la participation de toute la famille au processus d’apprentissage ;
Travailler en partenariat avec les associations et communautés locales pour élaborer et
développer des services qui reflètent les besoins réels des communautés.
II. Éducation inclusive pour les enfants défavorisés
Résultats clés
Alors que la situation socio-économique des minorités ethniques et des migrants a un impact
considérable sur le niveau de scolarité de leurs enfants, il est clair que :
Les enfants de migrants récents et de migrants non-européens ont des niveaux
d’éducation plus faibles que les enfants des mêmes groupes socio-économiques dans
certains États membres à toutes les étapes de l’éducation. Cela peut être en partie
attribué à un travail précaire et une éducation perturbée ;
Les enfants de certains groupes ethniques minoritaires ont un niveau d’éducation plus
faible à toutes les étapes de l’éducation ;
Les parents de milieux défavorisés sont moins capables de soutenir leurs enfants à
l’école ;
Le plus souvent, l’enseignement et l’apprentissage ne remettent pas en question les
perceptions négatives des migrants et des minorités, et les enseignants ne sont pas
formés à remettre en question le soutien qu’apportent les parents à l’éducation de leurs
enfants ;
Les enfants migrants et réfugiés se retrouvent de manière disproportionnée dans les
catégories de niveau scolaire plus faible et les parcours éducatifs/institutionnels plus
faibles à cause des politiques d’admission ; aggravant le problème, leurs parents ne sont
souvent pas capables de contester le système ni d’exprimer leurs choix préférés ;
Un programme trop rigide, centralisé et ne reflétant pas la diversité des apprenants
impliqués peut avoir un impact négatif sur le processus d’apprentissage, en particulier sur
les enfants socialement défavorisés.
Leçons pour les politiques et les pratiques
Assurer une éducation inclusive et fournir un soutien aux enfants migrants et issus de
minorités ethniques
Intégrer rapidement les nouveaux enfants migrants dans les classes générales qui
correspondent à leurs aptitudes cognitives et à leur âge, au moyen de classes bilingues et de
programmes multiculturels, en formant et en employant des enseignants issus des mêmes
milieux ;
Fournir aux enfants migrants et réfugiés dotés de compétences linguistiques insuffisantes les
ressources nécessaires pour développer leurs compétences et les intégrer plus rapidement
dans un niveau d’enseignement approprié ;
Garantir que les enfants migrants, réfugiés et roms ne soient pas exclus de l’enseignement
général ;
Donner aux migrants les mêmes choix pour l’éducation de leurs enfants que les autres parents
ont, et garantir que les enfants aient accès et recours à un soutien supplémentaire avant et
après l’école ;
Éliminer à la fois la « répartition entre différents types d’établissement scolaire » et la
« catégorisation », notamment avant l’âge de 13 ans ;
Mettre en œuvre des politiques prenant en compte la diversité avec un programme
culturellement sensible afin de favoriser l’égalité des chances pour tous les élèves, encourager
de bonnes relations et stimuler une image de soi positive des enfants issus de milieux sociaux
défavorisés ;
Promouvoir une approche holistique du développement de l’apprenant qui englobe les
aspects personnels, sociaux, culturels et scolaires, accompagnée par d’un soutien ciblé ;
Mettre en œuvre des pédagogies et pratiques efficaces et innovantes telles que les approches
basées sur le web, coopératives ou centrées sur l’apprenant, qui permettent d’unir les
apprenants et faciliter la coopération ;
Fournir un soutien ciblé et efficace aux élèves, y compris à travers des écoles ouvertes et
fonctionnant toute la journée, un soutien linguistique, un soutien personnalisé, des
programmes de tutorat, un soutien socio-émotionnel et comportemental.
Promouvoir et soutenir l’implication des familles et des communautés locales
S’adresser aux parents migrants pour s’assurer qu’ils profitent des opportunités d’accueil, de
jeu et d’apprentissage pour leurs enfants ;
Expliquer aux parents migrants le soutien qu’ils peuvent avoir besoin d’apporter à
l’apprentissage de leurs enfants et la façon dont ils peuvent être impliqués dans la scolarité ;
Impliquer des mentors et médiateurs de la communauté locale parmi le personnel scolaire
pour informer et impliquer les parents migrants et pour compléter les conseils de carrière et
l’orientation de l’école ;
Améliorer l’alphabétisation et les compétences en calcul des parents afin qu’ils puissent mieux
aider leurs enfants dans l’enseignement primaire, en les impliquant dans l’apprentissage
scolaire et en leur offrant des opportunités d’enseigner à leurs enfants (par exemple, à travers
des jeux et des activités d’apprentissage) ;
Encourager les aspirations des parents pour leurs enfants, et améliorer la connaissance et la
compréhension des parents de l’enseignement supérieur.
III. Équité et efficacité des systèmes d’éducation et de formation
Résultats clés
La fragmentation des systèmes éducatifs a conduit à des divisions de responsabilités
imprécises et à une mise en œuvre inefficace des stratégies nationales. Cela est
particulièrement vrai dans les domaines intersectoriels tels que l’éducation des enfants
placés en institutions, l’éducation formelle et non formelle des adultes, et
l’enseignement et la formation professionnelle (EFP) ;
Une gouvernance inefficace peut créer des obstacles supplémentaires pour les parties
prenantes à divers niveaux, tels que des problèmes de coordination, une reconnaissance
insuffisante des qualifications, un partage imprécis des responsabilités et des stratégies
de financement public inefficaces ;
Actuellement, très peu d’États membres de l’UE disposent de systèmes de suivi matures
qui recueillent des données sur la participation à l’éducation des groupes défavorisés et
sur leur niveau scolaire à toutes les étapes de l’éducation et de la formation, et qui
peuvent relier les données pour suivre le progrès dans le temps.
Le montant des ressources consacrées à la scolarité n’est pas un facteur primordial pour
déterminer la performance des élèves et la qualité de l’offre éducative ;
La façon dont le financement est alloué peut favoriser ou freiner l’égalité et l’inclusion ;
La majeure partie du financement de l’éducation et de la formation sert à financer les
salaires des enseignants, et il y a très peu de ressources affectées à des améliorations
substantielles de l’environnement d’apprentissage et au développement de stratégies
pédagogiques plus efficaces ;
Les obstacles financiers limitent souvent l’accès à l’éducation non obligatoire, qu’il s’agisse
de l’éducation et l’accueil de la petite enfance, de l’éducation supérieure ou de l’éducation
des adultes. Cela est particulièrement vrai pour les apprenants issus de milieux défavorisés.
Admission et transitions
La ségrégation scolaire aboutit à la répartition de davantage d’enfants issus des
minorités ethniques ou de milieux socialement défavorisés dans des écoles de qualité
plus faible et moins performantes, ce qui peut encore exacerber l’exclusion sociale et les
inégalités ;
Les politiques d’admission, basées sur un libre choix de l’école ou sur l’obligation d’une
carte scolaire, si elles ne sont pas contrôlées, peuvent augmenter la ségrégation scolaire
et l’inégalité ;
La catégorisation est souvent utilisée conjointement avec une approche compétitive
axée sur la performance de l’enseignement et de l’apprentissage, ce qui est
particulièrement préjudiciable aux apprenants défavorisés ;
La différenciation de l’éducation post-secondaire augmente généralement l’accès à
l’éducation via un certain nombre de parcours et de formations, toutefois, elle tend aussi
à accroître les inégalités dans l’accès à des parcours universitaires de meilleure qualité
ou de statut supérieur ;
Moins d’opportunités d’un apprentissage souple et de bonne qualité tout au long de la
vie entraîne une plus faible participation à l’éducation formelle et non formelle des
Leçons pour les politiques et les pratiques
Promouvoir la bonne gouvernance et le suivi
Assurer des niveaux adéquats d’autonomie des écoles pour permettre aux municipalités et aux
écoles d’être innovantes et souples pour répondre aux besoins spécifiques des apprenants ;
Lier l’introduction d’une plus grande autonomie à des systèmes globaux de responsabilité et
d’assurance de la qualité ;
Promouvoir la gouvernance participative en permettant une collaboration multipartite entre
les principales parties prenantes de l’éducation ;
Mettre en place des systèmes de suivi qui permettent de suivre les handicaps et d’informer
des réponses efficaces ;
Introduire des systèmes d’alerte précoce des problèmes des enfants ou des décrochages
scolaires potentiels, conjointement à un suivi complet.
Assurer un investissement et un financement durables
S’assurer qu’une part relativement élevée du PIB soit affectée à l’éducation et la formation, et
que les salaires des enseignants soient à peu près équivalents à la moyenne des autres
professions requérant un diplôme ;
Fournir un financement ciblé aux écoles et individus défavorisés pour accroître la participation
dans l’éducation supérieure ou complémentaire ;
Fournir un financement supplémentaire aux écoles pour leur permettre de répondre aux
besoins des apprenants issus de milieux défavorisés, y compris l’apprentissage de la langue,
l’orientation, les activités supplémentaires et un soutien ciblé aux apprenants ;
Assurer un accès équitable et une continuité de l’éducation et de la formation
Étendre l’éducation obligatoire et s’assurer que les expériences éducatives soient
ininterrompues et de bonne qualité ;
Pratiquer des politiques d’admission sensibles pour réduire la ségrégation scolaire, qui
tiennent compte de la composition ethnique et sociale des districts scolaires, via un système
de « choix contrô », ou des obligations variables d’une carte scolaire ;
Promouvoir des écoles et des classes mixtes d’un point vue ethnique, social ou des capacités
pour promouvoir l’interaction et l’acceptation de la différence ;
Reporter l’âge de l’orientation vers des parcours éducatifs particuliers, augmenter les
possibilités de changer de parcours et proposer des normes scolaires élevées aux élèves dans
toutes les écoles ;
Engager les parties prenantes concernées (parents, communauté, société civile, organisations du
secteur public et privé) dans le processus d’apprentissage pour améliorer l’expérience
d’apprentissage des élèves et leur bien-être général.
IV. Responsabilisation des éducateurs et du personnel enseignant
Résultats clés
Les enseignants et les directeurs d’école ne sont souvent pas équipés pour travailler avec
une diversité croissante en classe ;
L’enseignement dans un cadre multiculturel ou multilingue est l’un des domaines
prioritaires les enseignants signalent le besoin le plus élevé en matière de
développement professionnel dans de nombreux pays européens ;
Bien que la plupart des programmes de formation initiale des enseignants incluent un
type de formation à la diversité, ils se présentent souvent sous la forme d’un simple
module ou d’une option, ce qui est peu susceptible d’avoir un impact durable majeur au
cours de la carrière d’un enseignant ;
Même si la plupart des cadres de compétence des enseignants incluent la question de la
sensibilisation aux questions de diversité, ces concepts sont rarement définis de manière
opérationnelle et sont rarement accompagnés d’instructions spécifiques de mise en
Leçons pour les politiques et les pratiques
Améliorer les compétences du corps enseignant
Définir explicitement les compétences obligatoires des enseignants pour l’enseignement
auprès de groupes défavorisés ;
Renforcer les unités sociologiques, socio-psychologiques et socio-éducatives des programmes
de formation des enseignants afin de sensibiliser les enseignants aux difficultés spécifiques
auxquelles sont confrontés les apprenants défavorisés, et à leurs besoins ;
Identifier les méthodes d’enseignement qui renforcent le plus efficacement la motivation et
améliorent le niveau de scolarité des apprenants défavorisés ;
S’assurer que la formation initiale des enseignants et leur formation continue incluent les
sujets de la diversité, l’éducation interculturelle, l’enseignement multilingue et les pédagogies
Assurer la diversité du corps enseignant
Former et employer des médiateurs culturels, tels que des assistants pédagogiques ou des
agents de liaison auprès des familles issus de l’immigration ou d’une minorité ethnique, pour
aider à construire des liens entre les parents et l’école, et impliquer les parents dans
l’apprentissage de leurs enfants ;
Afin de s’assurer que le personnel des écoles, y compris les enseignants et les assistants
pédagogiques, soient représentatifs de la diversité des communautés de l’école, le recrutement
à la formation initiale des enseignants devrait être ciblé de manière appropriée, et les
qualifications des enseignants immigrants devraient être reconnues.
Bildungspolitik muss auf Diversität zugeschnitten sein und allen Bürgern die Chance bieten, einen
Bildungsabschluss zu erlangen und ihr Potenzial gemäß ihren jeweiligen Voraussetzungen und
ungeachtet ihres Hintergrunds voll auszuschöpfen. In der Realität ist Chancenungleichheit jedoch
ein großes Problem in allen europäischen Bildungssystemen, wobei sozio-ökonomische
Benachteiligung, geringe Inanspruchnahme von frühkindlicher Bildung, geringe Bildung der und
Unterstützung durch die Eltern, Zugehörigkeit zu einer ethnischen Minderheit oder
Immigrationshintergrund zu den wichtigen Risikofaktoren zählen.
Der Schwerpunkt dieses Berichts liegt daher auf politischen Ansätzen und Verfahren, die
nachweislich geeignet sind, Benachteiligung in der Bildung zu durchbrechen bzw. zu verhindern
Die wichtigsten Ergebnisse wurden durch eine Metaanalyse von 20 Forschungsprojekten
ermittelt, die im Rahmen des 6. und 7. Forschungsrahmenprogramms (FRP6 und FRP7) gefördert
. Die Analyse wurde von der Generaldirektion Bildung und Kultur (GD EAC) in Auftrag
gegeben und im Netzwerk von Expertinnen und Experten, die sich mit den sozialen Aspekten
allgemeiner und beruflicher Bildung beschäftigen (NESET II), durchgeführt.
Die nachfolgend dargestellten wichtigsten Ergebnisse und Lehren für Politik und Praxis können
die Mitgliedstaaten dabei unterstützen, die Ziele zu erreichen, die in der Pariser Erklärung zur
Förderung von Politischer Bildung und der gemeinsamen Werte von Freiheit, Toleranz und
Nichtdiskriminierung und dem gemeinsamen Bericht 2015 über die Umsetzung des strategischen
Rahmens für die europäische Zusammenarbeit auf dem Gebiet der allgemeinen und beruflichen
Bildung festgelegt wurden.
Diese Zusammenfassung präsentiert die Kernbotschaften, die sich aus der Analyse von 20
Forschungsprojekten ergeben und gibt dann einen Überblick über konkrete Herausforderungen
und Lehren für Politik und Praxis, die nach den folgenden vier Themen gegliedert sind:
1. Lebenslanges Lernen, Fähigkeiten und Beschäftigungsfähigkeit;
2. Inklusive Bildung für benachteiligte Kinder;
3. Chancengleichheit und Effizienz von Systemen der allgemeinen und beruflichen Bildung;
4. Stärkere Mitsprache von Pädagogen und Lehrkräften.
Bildungsbenachteiligung ist sowohl Ursache als auch Folge von Armut und sozialer
Der sozio-ökonomische Hintergrund des Lernenden ist in allen Mitgliedstaaten und auf allen
Bildungsebenen nach wie vor der stärkste Bestimmungsfaktor für den Bildungserfolg;
Chancengleichheit in der Bildung schließt gute Lernerfolge und optimale Leistung nicht aus;
Investitionen in die Qualität der frühkindlichen Bildung und Betreuung sind entscheidend, weil
diese die Grundlagen für weitere Lernerfolge legt und dazu beiträgt, den Kreislauf der
Benachteiligung zu durchbrechen;
Für diesen Bericht wurden 20 Projekte untersucht, wobei die Hochschulbildung nicht berücksichtigt wurde.
LLIGHTinEurope, LLL2010, NEUJOBS, PROFIT,, SI-DRIVE, WORKABLE, YIPPEE (siehe Anhänge 1, 3-5).
Systeme der allgemeinen und beruflichen Bildung, die für alle Schüler hohe Qualitätsstandards
gewährleisten, personalisierte und inklusive pädagogische Ansätze fördern, frühzeitig auf
Probleme reagieren und benachteiligte Schüler unterstützen, sind starke Motoren der sozialen
Systeme der allgemeinen und beruflichen Bildung, die Schüler schon jung auf unterschiedliche
Bildungsarten bzw. -einrichtungen aufteilen, verstärken den Effekt des sozio-ökonomischen
Hintergrunds auf die Bildungskarriere und sind langfristig nicht effizienter als andere Systeme;
Durch bessere Rekrutierungs- und Qualifizierungssysteme für Lehrkräfte in benachteiligten
Gebieten, stärkere Autonomie und Rechenschaftssysteme, die Chancenungleichheit
vermeiden, lassen sich Effizienz und Chancengleichheit verbessern;
Die Schulen allein können generationsübergreifende Kreisläufe des Mangels nicht
durchbrechen. Um Bildungsbenachteiligung wirksam zu bekämpfen, braucht es Synergien
zwischen verschiedenen Politikbereichen.
Kontrollsysteme in Kombination mit konkreten Zielvorgaben für unterrepräsentierte Gruppen
sind unentbehrlich, um die Chancengleichheit zu erhöhen. Dennoch verfügen nur wenige
Mitgliedstaaten über Systeme, die Daten über alle Stufen der allgemeinen und beruflichen
Bildung und langfristige Trends zu Integration und Bildungserfolgen benachteiligter Gruppen
Obwohl es wichtig ist, die Auswirkungen von Reformen und Initiativen, mit denen die
Gleichstellung in der allgemeinen und beruflichen Bildung verbessert werden kann, konsequent
zu überprüfen, ist dies in den EU-Mitgliedstaaten nicht allgemein üblich.
I. Lebenslanges Lernen, Fähigkeiten und Beschäftigungsfähigkeit
Wichtige Ergebnisse
Lebenslanges Lernen ist für gering qualifizierte Erwachsene oder für Menschen aus
benachteiligten Gruppen nicht ausreichend attraktiv bzw. verfügbar;
Geld ist ein wesentliches Hindernis beim Zugang zu beruflicher und tertiärer Bildung,
insbesondere bei Menschen mit niedrigem Einkommen;
Arbeitgeber und Bildungseinrichtungen erkennen berufliche Qualifikationen und frühere
Lernerfolge häufig nicht an;
Arbeitgeber investieren generell zu wenig in die berufliche Bildung von gering
Qualifizierten und wenn sie es doch tun, verlassen sie sich zu sehr auf staatliche Beihilfen;
Sprachkurse entsprechen häufig nicht den Bedürfnissen von erwachsenen Einwanderern.
Lehren für Politik und Praxis
Förderung und Unterstützung von lebenslangem Lernen
Den Zugang von benachteiligten Gruppen zur höheren Bildung dauerhaft fördern, unter
anderem durch finanzielle Bildungsbeihilfen für Erwachsene mit geringem Einkommen;
Erwachsenen Beschäftigten Anreize dazu bieten, sich beruflich weiterzubilden und eine
höhere Berufsqualifikation zu erreichen;
Sinnvolle und attraktive zweite Bildungswege anbieten, die die beruflichen Chancen von
Menschen verbessern, die die allgemeine und berufliche Bildung ohne Abschluss abgebrochen
Bürgernahe Initiativen für lebenslanges Lernen an lokalen und dezentralen Standorten nutzen,
mit denen benachteiligte und marginalisierte Lernende erreicht werden können, insbesondere
gering Qualifizierte, Migranten und Frauen;
Lernangebote zeitlich flexibel gestalten und Vorbereitungskurse und modulare Kurse anbieten;
KMU mit finanziellen und sonstigen Anreizen dazu bringen, berufliche Bildung anzubieten und
zu unterstützen;
Strukturelle Hilfen einschließlich finanzieller Anreize bereitstellen, um gering qualifizierte
Arbeitnehmer beruflich weiterzubilden sowie ihre Fähigkeiten und ihre Einstellung zum Lernen
zu verbessern;
Lernangebote so individualisieren, dass sie den Bedürfnissen von Arbeitnehmern und
Arbeitgebern gleichermaßen entsprechen;
Flexible und beschäftigungsfreundliche berufliche Bildungsangebote entwickeln, die an
Arbeitszeiten und Bedürfnisse von Arbeitnehmern angepasst sind;
„Sackgassen“ am Ende der Sekundarstufe vermeiden und flexible, durchlässige und vielfältige
Bildungspfade und Übergänge zur höheren Bildung und Weiterbildung anbieten.
Leichterer Zugang von erwachsenen Migranten zu lebenslangem Lernen
Einführungsprogramme anbieten, einschließlich Sprachkurse und Vermittlung kultureller
Fähigkeiten sowie Hilfen beim Eintritt in den Arbeitsmarkt;
Sprachlernkurse anbieten, die inhaltlich an Erwachsene angepasst sind, zu Zeiten die mit
beruflichen und familiären Verpflichtungen vereinbar sind, und an leicht zugänglichen Orten
Plätze in Sprachkursen vorrangig an Personen vergeben, die die Sprache des Gastlandes am
wenigsten beherrschen, damit sie möglichst schnell in die Lage versetzt werden, in der Schule,
im Gesundheitswesen und mit Arbeitgebern zu kommunizieren;
Die Teilnahme der gesamten Familie am Lernprozess fördern;
Bei der Gestaltung und Entwicklung von Dienstleistungen mit den betroffenen
Gemeinschaften zusammenarbeiten, damit die Angebote den realen Bedürfnissen
II. Inklusive Bildung für benachteiligte Kinder
Wichtige Ergebnisse
Obwohl die sozio-ökonomische Situation von ethnischen Minderheiten und Einwanderern auch
den Bildungserfolg derer Kinder stark beeinflusst, darf man folgendes nicht übersehen:
In einigen Mitgliedstaaten haben Kinder von vor kurzem zugewanderten Migranten und
von Migranten aus nicht-europäischen Ländern auf allen Bildungsebenen weniger Erfolg
als Kinder aus derselben sozio-ökonomischen Gruppe; dies lässt sich zum Teil durch
befristete Arbeitsplätze und häufigen Schulwechsel erklären;
Kinder aus bestimmten ethnischen Minderheiten schneiden durchgängig auf allen
Bildungsstufen schlechter ab;
Eltern aus benachteiligten Gruppen nnen ihre Kinder in der Schule weniger
In den meisten Fällen, werden negative Vorurteile über Migranten oder Minderheiten im
Unterricht nicht korrigiert und Lehrer sind selten bereit, von Eltern mehr Unterstützung
bei der Bildung ihrer Kinder einzufordern;
Die gängigen Zulassungsverfahren führen dazu, dass junge Migranten und Flüchtlinge
überproportional häufig in Bildungswege und Bildungseinrichtungen verwiesen werden,
die zu niedrigeren Abschlüssen führen; ein Problem, das noch dadurch verschärft wird,
dass die Eltern wenig Möglichkeiten haben, sich gegen das System zu wehren und ihre
bevorzugten Optionen durchzusetzen;
Zu unflexible, zentralisierte Lehrpläne, die der Diversität der Lernenden nicht gerecht
werden, können den Lernprozess erschweren, insbesondere bei sozial benachteiligten
Lehren für Politik und Praxis
Inklusive Bildung sicherstellen und Kinder mit Migrationshintergrund und Kinder aus
ethnischen Minderheiten fördern
Vor kurzem zugewanderte Kinder schnell in Regelklassen integrieren, die ihren kognitiven
Fähigkeiten und ihrem Alter entsprechen; geeignete Mittel sind mehrsprachige Klassen,
multikulturelle Lehrpläne und die Ausbildung und Beschäftigung von Lehrern mit
Jungen Migranten und Flüchtlingen ohne Sprachkenntnisse die notwendigen Ressourcen
bereitstellen, mit denen sie die Sprache rascher erwerben und schneller in den angemessenen
Regelunterricht integriert werden können;
Sicherstellen, dass junge Migranten, Flüchtlinge und Roma nicht aus dem regulären
Bildungssystem ausgeschlossen werden;
Migranten die gleichen Mitbestimmungsrechte bei der Bildung ihrer Kinder geben wie anderen
Eltern und sicherstellen, dass Kinder vor und nach der Schule zusätzliche Unterstützung
erhalten und in Anspruch nehmen;
Kinder nicht oder frühestens ab 13 Jahren auf unterschiedliche Schulformen und Bildungswege
Mit Hilfe von Lehrplänen, die auf kulturelle Unterschiede eingehen, Diversität im
Bildungswesen berücksichtigen; dies verbessert die Chancengleichheit, fördert gute
Beziehungen zwischen verschiedenen Gruppen und verbessert das Selbstbild von Kindern aus
benachteiligten sozialen Gruppen;
Die Entwicklung der Lernenden aus einer ganzheitlichen Perspektive betrachten, die
persönliche, soziale, kulturelle und akademische Aspekte berücksichtigt und zielgerichtet
Wirksame innovative pädagogische Ansätze und Praktiken umsetzen, zum Beispiel internet-
gestützten, kooperativen und lernenzentrierten Unterricht, der die Zusammenarbeit der
Schüler fördert und erleichtert;
Schülern wirksame und zielgerichtete Unterstützung anbieten, zum Beispiel offene Schulen
und Ganztagsschulen, zusätzliche Sprachkurse, individuelle Unterstützung,
Tutorenprogramme und sozio-emotionale und Verhaltenstherapie.
Die Partizipation von Familien und lokalen Gemeinschaften fördern und unterstützen
Migranten aktiv ansprechen, damit sie Betreuungs-, Spiel- und Lernangebote für ihre Kinder
Migranten darüber aufklären, wie sie ihr Kind beim Lernen unterstützen und aktiv am
Schulalltag teilnehmen können;
Mentoren und Mediatoren aus lokalen Gemeinschaften an der Schule beschäftigen, die Eltern
mit Migrationshintergrund informieren und ansprechen und als zusätzliche schulische
Berufsberatung fungieren können;
Lese- und Rechenfähigkeit der Eltern stärken, damit sie ihre Kinder in der Primarstufe besser
unterstützen können, dazu können die Eltern am Schulunterricht beteiligt und in die Lage
versetzt werden, ihre Kinder zu unterrichten (zum Beispiel durch Spiele und Lernaktivitäten);
Eltern dazu ermutigen, ehrgeizige Ziele für ihre Kinder zu setzen und sie über Möglichkeiten
der tertiären Bildung informieren.
III. Chancengleichheit und Effizienz von Systemen der allgemeinen und
beruflichen Bildung
Wichtige Ergebnisse
Politische Steuerung
Durch die Fragmentierung von Bildungssystemen sind Zuständigkeiten nicht klar verteilt,
und nationale Strategien nnen nicht wirksam umgesetzt werden. Dies gilt
insbesondere für bereichsübergreifende Probleme, wie die Bildung von Heimkindern,
die formelle und informelle Erwachsenenbildung und die berufliche Bildung;
Eine unzureichende politische Steuerung kann zusätzliche Hindernisse aufbauen, zum
Beispiel durch mangelnde Abstimmung, Nichtanerkennung von Qualifikationen, unklare
Kompetenzverteilung und ineffiziente Systeme der öffentlichen Finanzierung;
Aktuell verfügen nur sehr wenige EU-Mitgliedstaaten über ausgereifte Kontrollsysteme,
die Daten über die Bildungsbeteiligung und den Bildungserfolg benachteiligter Gruppen
auf allen Bildungsebenen erfassen und diese Daten langfristig zu Trends verbinden
Die Höhe der Ressourcen, die in Bildung investiert werden, ist kein entscheidender
Faktor für die Leistung der Schüler und die Qualität des Unterrichts;
Die Art, in der Mittel verteilt werden, kann Chancengleichheit und Inklusion entweder
behindern oder fördern;
Der Großteil der Mittel für allgemeine und berufliche Bildung fließt in die Bezahlung der
Lehrkräfte; nur ein sehr geringer Anteil wird in wesentliche Verbesserungen der
Lernumgebung und zur Entwicklung wirksamer pädagogischer Strategien investiert;
Finanzielle Hindernisse schränken häufig den Zugang zu Bildungsangeboten vor und nach
dem schulpflichtigen Alter ein, das heißt: zur frühkindlichen Bildung und Betreuung und
zur höheren und Erwachsenenbildung. Dies gilt besonders für Lernende aus
benachteiligten Gruppen.
Zulassung und Übergang
Schulsegregation führt dazu, dass Kinder aus ethnischen Minderheiten und sozial
benachteiligten Familien in Schulen von geringer Qualität und mit schlechteren
Angeboten kommen, was soziale Ausgrenzung und Chancenungleichheit noch verstärkt;
Zulassungsverfahren, die ausschließlich auf freier Schulwahl bzw. Einzugsgebieten
basieren, können Schulsegregation und Ungleichheit verstärken, wenn sie nicht durch
andere Regelungen ergänzt werden;
Die Aufteilung in verschiedene Schulformen geht oft mit einer leistungs- und
wettbewerbsorientierten Auffassung von Lehre und Lernen einher und schadet
insbesondere benachteiligten Lernenden;
Eine Differenzierung von Bildung nach der Sekundarstufe verbessert einerseits den
Zugang zu Bildung, weil er unterschiedlichste Wege und Kurse bietet; andererseits
verstärkt sie tendenziell die Ungleichheit beim Zugang zu akademischen Bildungswegen
von hoher Qualität und mit hohem Status;
Ein Mangel an flexiblen und hochwertigen Möglichkeiten zu lebenslangem Lernen führt
dazu, dass weniger Menschen formelle oder informelle Angebote der
Erwachsenenbildung wahrnehmen.
Lehren für Politik und Praxis
Politische Steuerung und Kontrollsysteme verbessern
Schulen genügend Autonomie einräumen, so dass Schulträger und Schulen auf innovative und
flexible Weise auf die speziellen Bedürfnisse der Lernenden eingehen können;
Die größere Autonomie durch ein umfassendes System der Rechenschaftspflicht und
Qualitätssicherung ausgleichen;
Eine partizipatorische Politikgestaltung fördern, bei der wichtige Interessengruppen des
Bildungssektors zusammenarbeiten;
Einrichtung von Kontrollsystemen, die Benachteiligungen erfassen und als Datengrundlage für
wirksame Gegenmaßnahmen dienen;
Einführung von Frühwarnsystemen für Kinder mit Problemen oder potenzielle Schulabbrecher
in Verbindung mit einer umfassenden Kontrolle.
Nachhaltige Investitionen und Finanzierung sicherstellen
Sicherstellen, dass ein relativ hoher Anteil des BIP in die allgemeine und berufliche Bildung
fließt und die Gehälter von Lehrern ungefähr dem mittleren Einkommen von Akademikern
Gezielt Mittel für benachteiligte Schulen und Schüler bereitstellen, um deren Teilnahme an der
höheren Bildung und Weiterbildung zu verbessern;
Schulen mit vielen Lernenden aus benachteiligten Gruppen zusätzliche Mittel bereitstellen, mit
denen sie Sprachunterricht und Beratung, zusätzliche Aktivitäten und spezielle
Förderprogramme finanzieren können;
Chancengleichheit beim Zugang zur allgemeinen und beruflichen Bildung sicherstellen
Bildungspflicht ausdehnen und sicherstellen, dass alle Schüler eine ununterbrochene und
hochwertige Bildungserfahrung machen;
Angepasste Zulassungsrichtlinien einführen, die die ethnische und soziale Zusammensetzung
des Schuldistrikts berücksichtigen und die Schulsegregation durch ein System der „gesteuerten
Wahlfreiheit“ oder die flexible Auslegung von Einzugsgebieten mindern.
Förderung von ethnisch und sozial gemischten oder integrativen Schulen und Klassen, die
Interaktion und die Toleranz von anderen anregen;
Schüler erst spät auf unterschiedliche Schultypen aufteilen; dies erleichtert den Wechsel auf
andere Schulformen und stellt sicher, dass alle Schulen ihren Schülern einen hochwertigen
Lehrplan anbieten;
Relevante Akteure - Eltern, Gemeinde, Zivilgesellschaft, staatliche und nichtstaatliche
Organisationen - am Lernprozess beteiligen; dies verbessert die Lernerfahrung und das Wohl
der Schüler.
IV. Stärkere Mitsprache von Pädagogen und Lehrkräften
Wichtige Ergebnisse
Lehrer und Schulleitung sind für die zunehmende Diversität der Schülerschaft häufig nur
unzureichend ausgebildet;
Das Unterrichten von multikulturellen oder mehrsprachigen Klassen ist in vielen
europäischen Ländern einer der Bereiche, in denen sich Lehrer eine Weiterbildung
Obwohl das Thema Diversität im Lehramtsstudium in der Regel vorkommt, wird dies
meist im Rahmen eines Moduls oder als Wahlseminar angeboten, das den beruflichen
Werdegang der künftigen Lehrer kaum wesentlich beeinflusst;
Der Umgang mit Diversität wird zwar in den meisten Kompetenzrahmen für Lehrer
berücksichtigt, allerdings wird das Konzept nur selten operationalisiert und es fehlen
Richtlinien zur Umsetzung.
Lehren für Politik und Praxis
Kompetenz der Lehrkräfte verbessern
Das Unterrichten benachteiligter Gruppen bei der Lehrerausbildung ausdrücklich als
Pflichtqualifikation berücksichtigen;
Soziologische, soziopsychologische und soziopädagogische Elemente der Lehrerausbildung
verstärken, damit künftige Lehrer die speziellen Probleme und Bedürfnisse benachteiligter
Lernender besser verstehen;
Unterrichtsmethoden entwickeln, die Motivation und Bildungserfolg benachteiligter
Lernender besonders wirksam steigern können;
Sicherstellen, dass bei der Ausbildung und laufenden beruflichen Weiterbildung von Lehrern
die Themen Diversität, interkulturelle Bildung, mehrsprachiger Unterricht und innovative
Pädagogik stärker berücksichtigt werden.
Diversität im Lehrkörper fördern
Kulturelle Mediatoren ausbilden und einstellen, zum Beispiel pädagogische Assistenten oder
Berater mit Migrationshintergrund oder aus einer ethnischen Minderheit, die die
Zusammenarbeit von Eltern und Schule verbessern und Eltern am Lernprozess ihrer Kinder
Gewährleisten, dass der Lehrkörper an Schulen, einschließlich der Lehrer und Assistenten, die
Diversität des schulischen Umfelds widerspiegelt. Dazu sollten gezielt Personen aus diesen
Gruppen bei der Lehrerausbildung gefördert und die Qualifikationen von zugewanderten
Lehrern anerkannt werden.
Chapter 1. Introduction
This study reviews the findings of 20 research projects funded under the Sixth and Seventh EU
Framework Programmes for Research and Development (FP6 and FP7)
. The review was
commissioned by the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) and carried out by
the Network of Experts on Social Aspects of Education and Training (NESET II). It is written
primarily for policy and decision makers in the field of education and training. It is guided by three
main questions:
What are the effects of educational inequality on the economic and social outcomes of
individuals, social groups and regions, and on social mobility, economic growth and social
cohesion in the EU?
What are the effects of poverty, inequality and wider socioeconomic disadvantage on the
educational opportunities, learning experiences and educational outcomes at each stage of an
individual’s life course and at different types and levels of education and training?
Which specific policies and practices are shown to promote equity, inclusion and better
outcomes in educational and social equality, inclusion, social mobility and social cohesion
through education? What are the key success factors for transferability and sustainability?
This report highlights concrete policies and practices that work to disrupt or prevent educational
disadvantage and sets out the supporting evidence
. For more information on the methodology
of this review, see Annex 4.
1.1. Relevance of this review for policy makers
Promoting equality, tolerance, respect for diversity and inclusion in and through education is
currently an important EU policy objective. Member States are working to deliver on the
objectives they set in the Paris Declaration Promoting citizenship and the common values of
freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education signed by EU Education Ministers
and the EU Commissioner for Education, Training, Youth and Sport in March 2015. The objectives
of the Paris Declaration inform the 2015 Joint Report on the implementation of the Education and
Training 2020 Strategic Framework which guides the European Commission's policy cooperation
with the Member States to 2020.
This report provides guidance that can support Member States in their efforts to deliver on the
objectives of the Paris Declaration and the 2015 Joint Report. It will also be of interest to important
EU-level policy-steering activities and formal commitments that EU Member States have recently
subscribed to, including:
The May 2010 Council Conclusions on the social dimension of education and training
The Council conclusions on early childhood education and care (2011a);
The Council Recommendation on policies to reduce early school leaving (2011b);
The Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in Member States
LLIGHTinEurope, LLL2010, NEUJOBS, PROFIT,, SI-DRIVE, WORKABLE, YIPPEE (see Annexes 1, 3-5).
This review does not cover higher education level taking into account the scope of 20 projects reviewed.
Council of the European Union, 2010a.
The Council Recommendation Investing in Children Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage
The Council Conclusions on the social dimension of higher education (2013a).
Chapter 2. Causes and consequences of inequalities
in education
2.1. The problem
Education policy needs to cater for diversity and enable all citizens to succeed in education and to
develop their full potential, according to their specific learning needs and irrespective of their
However, the reality is different. The evidence reviewed here suggests that access to learning
opportunities, success at school and chances of higher education and further learning all remain
socially and spatially differentiated across the EU. All European education systems are, to a greater
or lesser extent, marked by inequalities
which reflect inequalities in the wider society. Whole
social groups or sub-sets of the population persistently achieve less in education often despite
the presence of policy initiatives that are designed to redress these inequities. The findings of the
20 projects reviewed here are consistent with wider international research confirming that
A learner's socioeconomic background remains the strongest determinant of educational
success or failure in all Member States and at all levels of education.
A large number of children from high-need families do not participate in early childhood
education and care (ECEC).
In all Member States, migrant learners (especially those from poor families) achieve
significantly below the level of native-born learners and are at a higher risk of leaving school
There are still more than five million early school leavers across the EU. Early school leaving
(ESL) for young people from a migrant background is double that of non-migrant families,
exceeding 40 % in some Member States.
Initial vocational education and training (VET) has much higher dropout rates than academic
Roma children are a lot less likely to benefit from ECEC, attend school, obtain necessary level
of qualification, or continue to post-compulsory education.
Boys (especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds) drop out of school more often than
girls, perform significantly worse in reading, and outnumber girls in VET. Women are more likely
to have a tertiary education degree but are still under-represented in Science, Technology,
Engineering and Maths (STEM) studies, in careers in research and in senior posts at all levels of
Disadvantaged social groups continue to be seriously under-represented in higher education
(especially in the more prestigious institutions and study fields) and many more students from
This review is limited by the extent of the discussion on educational inequalities, which varied significantly among the
research projects. It should not be considered comprehensive in tackling all existent aspects of inequalities.
these groups drop-out from university. There are marked disparities in higher education within
as well as between Member States.
In several Member States, learners with special educational needs are still often placed in
segregated institutions or in mainstream settings with inadequate support. They have high
rates of early school leaving and frequently leave school with few or no skills. They participate
a lot less in tertiary education, are more likely to be unemployed, and are at greater risk of
social exclusion.
Roma and migrant-background students are over-represented in segregated and special needs
settings. In certain countries more than 40 % of Roma pupils attend segregated classes.
The children of newly-arriving migrants, those from lower socioeconomic groups, some ethnic
minorities, refugee and Roma children and children in public care tend to be disproportionately
placed in educational routes or institutions that lead to lower level or lower status qualifications
(lower tracks) and poorer performing schools with lower expectations of what they will achieve.
Streaming (the allocation of children to different classes according to their ability) is often used with
a performance-driven, competitive approach to teaching and learning which does not improve the
attainment of disadvantaged children.
Teaching does not necessarily target or respond to the need for additional support of children who
have language difficulties or have had a disrupted education.
These inequalities in education and the inequality of human capital and skills they imply have
severe consequences for individuals, for the economy and for social cohesion. They affect all
aspects of people's lives, not only their opportunities to earn. They often lead individuals to
precarious life trajectories or disengagement not only from education and work but from broader
civil society. Millions of citizens are left behind. Policies to remedy these disparities are needed.
2.2. Some critical factors - evidence from the 20 research projects
Socioeconomic family background can strongly affect an individual’s educational outcomes and
future life chances. This has been confirmed in earlier academic literature, which shows in general
that pupils with a low socioeconomic background tend to be slower in developing academic and
linguistic skills. They display learning-related behaviour problems more often, show lower
motivation towards learning, leave education and training earlier, and leave with lower
qualifications and insufficient competencies for full participation in society (Aikens and Barbarin,
2008; Ballas et al., 2012; Blanden et al., 2005; Kaylor and Flores, 2008; Morgan et al., 2009).
EQUALSOC showed that this effect of general socioeconomic characteristics on children’s
cognitive skills, language skills and overall learning capacity can be detected as early as preschool
age (EQUALSOC Network, 2011)
Parental education has consistently proved to be one of the most important components
influencing educational outcomes. EDUMIGROM confirmed the findings of PISA surveys
conducted over the past decade: within the project sample, students from highly educated
families had close to a five times greater chance of attaining ‘excellent’ grades than fellow
students from a poorly educated parental background (Szalai, 2011b). Similarly, students coming
from a poorly educated parental home were three to four times more likely to repeat periods of
study (sometimes known as grade repetition or grade retention) to achieve the required grades
EQUALSOC showed how children (aged 3-4 years) from higher-SES families score better on standardised
developmental tests than children from lower-SES backgrounds (see, for instance, results for children in Germany in
Becker, 2010).
than their peers from highly educated families (Szalai, 2011a). For its part, GINI revealed that a
family background in which at least one parent holds a university degree is associated with almost
three additional years of schooling for the next generation, while IMPROVE found the proportion
of young people with low-educated parents to be significantly higher among early school leavers
than among stayers (Braga et al., 2011; Tumino, 2013). Similar trends continue down the line
towards adult education: LLL2010 revealed that most adult learners in low-level courses have low-
educated parents, while most adult learners with highly-skilled parents are enrolled in tertiary
level courses (Boeren et al., 2011).
Some of the projects indicated that the educational disadvantages experienced by ethnic or migrant
children can be best explained by parental socioeconomic status (SES). For example, EQUALSOC
revealed that when the effect of socioeconomic status is removed, second-generation immigrant
children from European countries often academically outperform the majority group, while
achievement gaps are substantially reduced for second-generation children of non-European
backgrounds (EQUALSOC Network, 2011). This finding confirms similar conclusions stemming from
PISA 2012, especially regarding the performance of migrant children in mathematics (European
Commission, 2013b, p. 12).
Research suggested that, even where relatively favourable socioeconomic conditions are present,
an ethnic minority or immigrant background can independently imply educational vulnerability
(EDUMIGROM, EQUALSOC, EUMARGINS). This conclusion is in line with a growing body of research
specifying that first and second generation immigrant students tend to be more affected by low
socioeconomic status than children with a non-immigrant background (OECD and European
Commission, 2015). For example, EDUMIGROM indicated that ‘ethnicity is a strong factor that is
played out in its own right in (…) informing how performance is assessed’: students from better
educated families were three to eight times more likely to be ‘marginally performingthan their
majority peers if they came from ethnic backgrounds (Szalai, 2011a). Notably, being from an
immigrant background does not have the same effect in the case of predominantly ‘white
immigrant’ minorities: according to the EDUMIGROM survey, 17 % of students from such
backgrounds in the project sample ended up among the best performing groups (Szalai, 2011a).
Ethnic background was also found to affect pupils’ relations with their peers in schools. EUMARGINS
concluded that ethnic minorities, migrants and their descendants experience various forms of social
exclusion in the form of bullying, teasing or more generally a feeling of being marked as different by
other pupils. Overall, such students often tend to be placed in segregated educational settings,
which results in their enclosure and isolation (see Section 3.1 for more); moreover, migrant children
and ethnic minorities are more likely to enrol in poorer quality or lower performing schools (Fangen,
2011; Kallas et al., 2011). They are also more likely to be on a vocational route or other route that
does not provide direct access to university education (European Commission, 2015a; NESSE,
The language factor can partly explain the educational disadvantage of learners with migrant or
ethnic minority background relative to majority students with the same socioeconomic background.
discussed how difficulties in education attainment and performance can be affected by poor
language skills. Native language speakers surveyed by EDUMIGROM, for example, were nearly twice
as likely to receive ‘excellent’ results as students with a different mother tongue (Szalai, 2011a). Such
educational inequalities are relevant across all levels of education: interviews and observations in
pre-primary centres by INCLUDE-ED indicated that a lack of language skills leads to children being
unprepared to cope with the academic challenges of pre-primary education (INCLUD-ED
Consortium, 2008b). At the same time, not knowing the language of the majority population can
constitute a major barrier in terms of access to higher education (Estonia, Norway and Sweden were
referred to by EUMARGINS; see Kallas et al., 2011).
Family support can be a significant protective factor against disengagement (Savage et al., 2005).
Within the survey sample of, study participants living with both biological parents
appeared to be less associated with low levels of engagement at school, while perceived support
from parents was shown to correlate with overall school engagement scores (Kaye et al., 2015).
Along these lines, high levels of participation by family members in learning activities were shown
by INCLUDE-ED to lead to higher school attendance, higher academic achievements and greater
value given to school by children (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2012a;). Overall, the family serves as
an important source of information, emotional support, and financial and social resources.
In terms of individual characteristics, gender is also a significant factor when considering the
performance attained in education. Although there are notable exceptions (such as the overall
performance in mathematics, science and technology studies), previous research has indicated
that female learners tend to outperform male learners, especially in terms of reading literacy
(Archer et al., 2007; NESSE, 2010a). As revealed by PISA 2012 and highlighted by the Education
and Training Monitor 2015, the number of 15 year-old boys in the EU who show
underachievement in reading, mathematics and science is 61 % higher than that of girls (OECD,
2013b; European Commission, 2015a). Interestingly, though, results from the Survey of Adult Skills
(PIAAC) for 16-24 year-olds in reading performance show that the gender gap in literacy becomes
narrower or completely diminishes later in life (OECD, 2013a, p. 109).
Data from EDUMIGROM revealed that ‘girls adjust better to the official requirements of schooling
than boys do’. Within the project sample, girls had an 8 % higher chance of receiving an ‘excellent’
grading than boys, and also enjoyed a 6 % advantage in average scores over boys (Szalai, 2011a).
In turn, performance affects educational attainment: in some countries within the sample of, boys were much less likely to achieve an upper secondary qualification than their female
peers (Kaye et al., 2014). also concluded that young women were more likely to express
aspirations towards higher levels of education than their male classmates (Kaye et al., 2015).
Evidently, aspirations later become a reality, as these gender gaps persist into further levels of
education. Notably, if only female education is considered, both Europe 2020 headline targets
have been reached (early school leaving rate below 10 % and tertiary education attainment rate
above 40 %). Women in the EU have an average 8.7 % higher tertiary education attainment rate
than men (European Commission, 2015a; Eurostat, 2014).
Nevertheless, female learners also experience educational inequalities. GINI revealed that being
a female corresponds in general to an average disadvantage of one third of a year of schooling
(Braga et al., 2011). LLLIGHTinEUROPE indicated that males on average perform better than
females in the Complex Problem Solving (CPS) assessment (even when adjusting for differences in
education and employment) and this was shown to contribute to the later earnings gap between
males and females (Ederer et al., 2015). Moreover, educational inequalities experienced by people
with family/care responsibilities can also be related to disadvantages experienced by women
(Boeren et al., 2011; Hefler et al., 2010; Saar and Roosalu, 2011; Szalai, 2011b). LLL2010 concluded
that the presence of a small child in the family reduced the probability of an individual’s
participation in formal adult learning activities by half, with the effect being twice as important
for a mother than for a father (Hefler et al., 2010).
Inequalities based on various individual characteristics and/or socioeconomic background can be
translated into educational inequalities through the reinforcement of social divisions within the
educational institutions (Ballas et al., 2012; see Chapter 4). In turn, initial educational attainment
and achievements can have a significant effect on later educational outcomes. For example, a
large body of literature, including various longitudinal studies, has revealed that participation in
high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC), particularly for children over the age of
three, leads to better cognitive and non-cognitive developmental outcomes, better readiness for
school and greater educational success (Chetty, 2010; Burchinal and Cryer, 2003; Duncan, 2013).
In the case of young people in secondary schools, the research projects emphasised how earlier
educational attainment and prior academic performance influence early school leaving and overall
attitudes towards achieving secondary education. The EDUMIGROM survey results for young
people between 14 and 17 years old showed that the proportion of those imagining themselves
graduating from a secondary school steeply declines in line with numeric grades (Szalai, 2011b).
Similarly, academically successful young people from public-care backgrounds in YIPPEE were
found to be more motivated to progress to upper secondary level and complete their educational
courses (Jackson and Cameron, 2011). Consequently, in EDUMIGROM, the actual proportion of
potential dropouts increased from 5 % among the ‘excellent’ students to 33 % among those
belonging to the ‘marginally performing’ group (Szalai, 2011a). Similarly, showed that
students had a higher chance of dropping out of their course if they had negative attitudes to
homework and especially to their teachers (Kaye et al., 2014).
Early educational attainment is also important with regard to adult education and lifelong learning
since it effectively shapes adult attitudes towards further study. LLLIGHTinEUROPE, for example,
concluded that perseverance and openness to learn new things among adults increase
significantly with their level of education (Ederer et al., 2015). Similarly, LLL2010 found that adult
learners enrolled at the lowest course levels show scepticism towards adult education; and the
project suggested that such adults had usually dropped out of the educational system at an earlier
stage and therefore developed negative attitudes towards learning early on (Boeren et al., 2011,
p. 101). By the same token, EQUALSOC and LLL2010 found that adult learners with low levels of
skills or lower educational attainment give more extrinsic (instrumental, economic pressure-
related) reasons for continuing their studies or training compared to better educated adults who
were more likely to give intrinsic reasons (EQUALSOC Network, 2011; Boeren et al., 2011)
. In
addition, data suggested that the actual chance for participation in formal adult education
increases significantly with higher levels attained in prior education, as revealed by LLL2010 and
the overall body of research (Hefler et al., 2010; NESSE, 2010b; Boeren et al., 2012). Similarly,
LLLIGHTinEUROPE found that individuals with higher secondary general education are more likely
to take career-related training and receive more hours of it than those with vocational education
(Woessmann et al., 2012).
Overall, a plethora of individual and family-level circumstances can influence educational
inequalities. However, the effects of these characteristics are often closely inter-related with the
way the education system accommodates ethnicity, gender, family background and
socioeconomic status. System-level and institutional barriers experienced by vulnerable groups,
positive system characteristics as well as specific measures helping to develop an inclusive
educational environment for disadvantaged individuals are discussed in Chapters 3 and 4
Notably, intrinsic motivation (associated with social capital and personal development) is seen as preferable because
it results in high-quality learning, while extrinsic motivation (relating to instrumental goals, economic pressure,
prospects of higher earnings, or risk of unemployment) can result in surface learning, or fear of failure (Boeren et al.,
2011, p. 14).
2.3. The cycle of disadvantage
The factors discussed above generate educational inequalities. Subsequently, these inequalities
lead to other types of disadvantages for vulnerable groups, mostly associated with social standing
and later positions in the labour market. Following this argument, a lack of educational attainment
can be understood as both a consequence and a cause of (household) poverty and social exclusion:
education converts initial individual or socioeconomic disadvantage into academic
underachievement, which then becomes the basis for subsequent labour market failure (NESSE,
2010a). Thus children who live in low-income households and whose parents are unemployed, at
risk of in-work-poverty, or have low qualifications, are much more likely to become the next
generation of parents with low socioeconomic standing (Frazer and Marlier, 2007; Eurydice, 2009,
NESSE, 2010a). In fact, evidence suggests that intergenerational upward mobility has been slowing
down worldwide (European Commission, 2015a).
of education result in greater unemployment, limited opportunities for the self-development of
workers, and high job insecurity (Kutsar et al., 2006; Araújo et al., 2013; Ryan et al., 2014;
Wiederhold, 2015; Salverda et al., 2014; INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2009a; EQUALSOC Network,
2011). This is in line with overall research findings produced in recent years (Giannetti et al., 2009;
Salverda et al., 2014; Wiederhold, 2015). For example, as explained in IMPROVE, early school
leavers tend to face higher rates of both youth and adult unemployment than stayers experience
(Tumino, 2013). These conclusions confirm the general trend found in the literature, namely that
early school leavers are more likely to be unemployed or employed in blue-collar or part-time jobs
(which provide less employment security) than those who complete their education (NESSE,
2010a; European Commission, 2013c; European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice/Cedefop, 2014;
European Commission, 2015a).
According to LLIGHTinEUROPE, individuals who obtained general secondary education degree
have a higher probability of employment as they become older, relative to individuals with
vocational education (Woessmann et al., 2012). In addition, employability an individual’s ability
to find, keep or change a job position at will, was also found to be positively affected by higher
educational level in EUMARGINS (Studená et al., 2015; Fangen, 2011). Data analysis in EQUALSOC
also indicated that education is an important determinant of occupational attainment, especially
in relation to the influence of education on finding a first job. Less educated individuals were
shown to experience slower career progression, and their disadvantages tend to increase during
their life course (Barone and Schizzerotto, 2011).
Educational inequalities and subsequent disadvantages related to employment outcomes may in
turn affect individual income levels, as well as the risk of facing poverty. People with low
educational attainment have a four times greater risk of falling into the poverty trap than people
with high educational attainment (Council of the European Union, 2010b). GINI data showed a
significant and positive relationship between education and income inequality
(Salverda et al.,
2014). In general, higher cognitive skills were systematically related to higher wages in the 23
countries studied by LLLIGHTinEUROPE (Wiederhold and Woessmann, 2015).
On the macro-level, reduction of one point in the Gini index of education is associated with a reduction of 0.5 to 0.6
points in the Gini index of income. On the micro-level, the research project revealed that personal income is positively
associated with the number of years of schooling (Salverda et al., 2014).
In spite of these findings, raising educational attainment and competence levels does not
necessarily ensure less deprivation and more social equality (Council of the European Union,
2010a). First, the effect of education on attainment in the labour market may only moderately
mediate the overall influence of social origins and socioeconomic family background. IMPROVE
concluded that non-EU migrants with a higher education degree experience relatively low returns
on education. For migrant men in particular, a higher education degree does not result in greater
probability of employment compared to someone with only a secondary education degree (Corluy
and Verbist, 2014). Similarly, EDUMIGROM survey data showed that, compared to students from
the upper ranks of society, well-performing students from poorer social backgrounds are much
more likely to opt for vocational education and early employment, which leads to poorer
prospects in the labour market over their life course (Szalai, 2011a).
Moreover, the recent financial downturn has further blurred the direct link between educational
attainment and employment opportunities, as the increase in youth unemployment has also
affected qualified young people (OECD, 2010b). With the expansion of tertiary education, a high
proportion of graduates in Europe have also been ending up in atypical, precarious forms of
employment (Knijn, 2012; Banerji et al., 2015). Accordingly, concerns about not getting a job despite
working hard at school were a common theme for many students interviewed by GOETE (Parreira
do Amaral et al., 2013). The crisis has also increased the proportion of those not in employment,
education, or training (NEETs) and aged 15 to 24 in the EU-28 from 10.9 % in 2008 to 12.5 % in 2014,
which signals a build-up of those facing multiple disadvantages in the labour market (Eurostat,
Individual-level inequalities caused by a lack of educational attainment also have societal
implications. As indicated by IMPROVE and LLLIGHTinEUROPE, higher educational levels are
associated with better employment levels, including migrant employment (Corluy and Verbist, 2014;
Wiederhold, 2015). Empirical evidence has suggested that an increase in educational achievement
by 50 PISA points translates into a one-percentage point higher rate of economic growth (EENEE,
2014). Previous research also showed that the number of years in schooling, provided that education
is of good quality, are of extreme importance for differences in regional development (Gennaioli et
al., 2013). A growing body of literature has emphasised that education is also a pathway to social
equality, active citizenship and personal fulfilment: in fact, an inclusive approach towards education
may help vulnerable individuals to achieve economic independence and social mobility in adulthood,
thus serving the needs of the labour market and the wider societal need for social inclusion
(Camilleri-Cassar, 2014; NESSE, 2010b).
Lessons for policy and practice
Educational disadvantage is both a consequence and a cause of poverty and social
A learner’s socioeconomic background remains the strongest determinant of educational
success at all levels of education. It has a significant effect on educational outcomes
including the development of academic and linguistic skills, early school leaving, and
learning motivation;
Educational outcomes shape an individual's occupational attainment and socioeconomic
standing, and thus educational inequalities can impose disadvantage upon subsequent
In general, ethnic minorities and those of immigrant background are more vulnerable to
unfavourable educational outcomes, so much so that even among children from well-
educated families, minority students are more likely to perform less well than their
majority peers;
Educational inequalities experienced by minorities can be partly attributed to a lack of
proficiency in the language of their host-country;
Female learners tend to outperform male learners at all levels of education. However,
they are less likely to participate in adult education due to family responsibilities, and are
under-represented in STEM subjects;
Early educational attainment and academic achievement influence early school leaving,
attitudes towards achieving secondary education, and participation in formal adult
Educational inequalities have significant social implications: low educational attainment
can result in greater levels of unemployment, income inequality, low economic growth
and disengagement of vulnerable groups.
Chapter 3. System and institutional factors promoting
inclusion in and through education and training
Many of the FP6 and FP7 research projects reviewed in this report analysed how the
characteristics of different education systems and institutional factors contribute to reducing,
maintaining, or deepening inequalities in learning outcomes, not only during compulsory
schooling but also in access to further education and training, the labour market and different
domains of social and cultural participation. The main findings are presented below.
3.1. The importance of access policies in education
3.1.1. Admission policies and institutional segregation
EDUMIGROM and IMPROVE found that the admission process in compulsory education can
increase educational segregation among children from different socioeconomic and ethnic groups
by channelling children with certain characteristics to schools with poorer records in educational
attainment (Szalai, 2011a; Dronkers and Korthals, 2015). Although a child’s geographically
peripheral location, especially when combined with a lack of social connectivity or the ethnic
composition of particular neighbourhoods, can reduce access to quality education and specific
support (Güntner et al., 2014; Hussain and Higson, 2014), residential conditions only partially
explain school segregation. Full parental choice resulting in the so-called ‘white flight’, local
educational policies aimed at raising efficiency through inter- and intra-school streaming into
differentiated ability groups and allocating children to different kinds of educational routes or
institutions, and attempts by ethnic minority parents to protect their children from discrimination
through separation, all intensify the process and generate greater inequities across education
systems (OECD, 2012; Szalai, 2011b; Ryan et al., 2014). In addition, refugees, irregular immigrants
or newly arrived migrant children may be deprived of full participation in compulsory education
through a failure to meet eligibility requirements based on the residency rules or through
unfamiliarity with local admission policies. Immigrant parents often lack the ‘inside’ knowledge
necessary to navigate through the education system for their children’s benefit due to language
barriers, resource constraints, lower levels of education and lack of knowledge of the host
country’s school system (Nusche, 2008; Szalai, 2011a; INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2010).
EDUMIGROM indicated that in choice-oriented systems, the most desirable schools compete for
the brightest students and as good results further increase their prestige this deprives lower
achieving pupils of access to these schools. As a result, ethnic minority and socially disadvantaged
children are likely to be over-represented in poorer quality or lower performing schools. In these
schools, students are not only segregated but also stigmatised, and with a restricted curriculum
and lower expectations, their educational careers essentially come to a dead end as they graduate
with practically no chance of gaining a qualification that would be valued by the labour market
(Szalai, 2011a).
In addition, EDUMIGROM found that the school setting and the socio-ethnic composition of a
particular class have a major influence on young people at school in their future aspirations, peer
group relations and student-teacher relations. Institutional segregation and the division of
students into parallel classes according to ethnic background creates an unfavourable
environment for interethnic contacts and their understanding of diversity which in turn in the
longer run, becomes an additional barrier for the development of more inclusive societies (Szalai,
3.1.2. Limited lifelong learning opportunities
As indicated by YIPPEE, educational performance, expected job security, the duration of studies,
preferences for study content and monetary costs contribute considerably to the creation of
socially selective choice patterns in post-secondary careers (Jackson and Cameron, 2011). In this
context, the so-called semi-tertiary institutions
become particularly attractive educational
alternatives for working class young people. While this appears to reduce inequities in access to
post-compulsory education in the broad sense, students that opt to continue their education in
these institutions could be diverted from engaging in higher education which tends to lead to
greater social and labour market equality’ (EQUALSOC Network, 2011). According to the
EQUALSOC project findings, students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are still markedly
under-represented in the most prestigious higher education institutions. The project findings also
underlined persistent socially selective tendencies among higher educational institutions (Jacob
and Reimer, 2015).
There is a general shortage of quality public facilities for young people, particularly so for those
living in deprived or rural areas, where families have fewer opportunities to access good quality
education, as demonstrated by CITiSPYCE
and PROFIT (Güntner et al., 2014; Hussain and Higson,
2014; Warzywoda-Kruszyńska et al., 2006). According to LLL2010, the probability that an individual
will participate in formal adult learning increases in relation to the degree of urbanisation of a
given residence. Moreover, lack of access to adequate information, advice and guidance about
educational opportunities is also a barrier to participation in both formal and informal learning
(Hefler et al., 2010).
In addition to variation in the availability of programmes for all in different geographic areas, and
differentiated access to quality education pathways as discussed above, financial issues are often
reported as a bottleneck in accessing education at different levels. For example, families face
financial barriers when accessing early childhood education, especially early care services for
children under the age of three, for which demand exceeds public supply in most EU countries. As
E.g., universities of cooperative education that combine firm-based training with tertiary education (Schindler &
Reimer, 2010).
CITiSPYCE also underlined that barriers do not always relate just to physical location, they can be constructed via
‘symbolic’ distances (Güntner et al., 2014).
Definitions of non-formal and informal learning are available here:
indicated by CARE, full-time and year-round services may be inaccessible for disadvantaged
children due to additional costs (Magnuson and Shager, 2010, in Akgündüz et al., 2015). The same
holds true for post-compulsory education, as in many countries post-secondary and tertiary
education require at least a partial financial contribution from the families themselves. This results
in an increase in working students and therefore possibly also a decrease in hours spent studying
(Hall, 2010)
. Financial problems do not solely result from educational fees; adult learners at any
educational level may also be struggling to support themselves and/or their families, as
demonstrated by LLL2010 (Boeren et al., 2011). EUMARGINS highlighted that for learners of low
socioeconomic status, it is even harder to access quality education in the context of the financial
crisis due to cuts in access to social benefits (Szalai, 2011b).
3.1.3. How can access policies facilitate inclusion and equality?
Improving access to early childhood education and care
It has been argued that increasing preschool enrolment has a positive influence on children’s
learning outcomes (Engle et al., 2007). Access to good quality early childhood education and care
(ECEC) is particularly important for children from a socially disadvantaged background as it facilitates
their entry into the formal education system. The CARE project indicated that for disadvantaged
children preschool participation is associated with strong benefits for later education, job and social
outcomes and moreover leads to improvements in social competence and a more rapid decline in
behaviour problems from the first year of preschool to primary education (Melhuish et al., 2015).
CARE referred to various policies that Member States apply to ensure universal access to quality
preschools. Universal legal entitlement to ECEC is a good example of equal opportunity strategies
because it guarantees a place for every child (Melhuish et al., 2015). Other good practices identified
include: governments encouraging providers to take up publicly subsidised preschool provision in
socially disadvantaged residential areas (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice/Cedefop, 2014);
making preschool compulsory (Akgündüz et al., 2015); and increasing subsidies in a private child-
care market leading to higher utilisation of formal care, for example in the Netherlands (Bettendorf
et al., 2015). Some countries have additional policies specifically for children from disadvantaged
backgrounds to increase their access to preschool provision. Means-tested Working Tax Credits for
low-income families as practised in the UK, the entitlement to enrol in day-care programmes for
children in families in need of support in Germany, and the introduction of priority rules for children
from socioeconomically disadvantaged families in Belgium, have all been effective in increasing
preschool participation (Akgündüz et al., 2015).
Expanding compulsory education
The GINI project confirmed that reforms aiming to expand access to pre-primary education are
associated with an increase in average educational attainment. The later children start compulsory
schooling, the lower their successive attainment, which suggests that lowering the starting age of
compulsory education is an effective tool for increasing educational attainment (Braga et al.,
At the same time, GINI and indicated that the extension of compulsory education to older
years is seen as one of the mechanisms to prevent early drop out (GINI, 2013; Ryan et al., 2014).
Participation in full-time education goes along with alternative options, such as work-based
Especially in Europe, NEUJOBS findings indicate that there was an increase in part-time over full-time students.
learning (including apprenticeships) and part-time education for those employed, self-employed
or volunteering (Ryan et al., 2014).
The GINI project findings indicated that ‘expansion of access’ by extending the length of
compulsory education narrows the range of difference in years of schooling between different
groups in the population and increases intergenerational upward mobility in educational
attainment by partially compensating for disadvantages in the family (Salverda et al., 2014). By
retaining the least motivated students in schools, it also reduces the differences in competences
among the adult population. However, this is only true if overall educational provision is of good
quality and inclusive (Ryan et al., 2014). Researchers find that people who benefited from longer
compulsory schooling were more likely to be employed and receive higher wages (Machin et al.,
Promoting mixed schools and classrooms
As stated earlier in the report, the segregation of students with socially disadvantaged or
immigrant background is detrimental to their subsequent success in education and further
exacerbates inequalities in society. Inclusive education models where children from different
backgrounds and abilities learn side by side are more effective at increasing attainment levels
among disadvantaged children. Moreover, EDUMIGROM found that ethnically and socially mixed
school environments are not only beneficial for low social economic status groups and ethnic
minority children, but also significantly increase the acceptance of differences among other
students, which leads to greater tolerance and respect for diversity more generally in society
(Szalai, 2011b).
As shown above, free-choice systems contribute to institutional segregation to a greater extent;
however, school enrolment according to catchment areas may reinforce the separation of children
with diverse backgrounds if there is high residential segregation. EDUMIGROM suggested that
catchment areas can work well if school-district boundaries are defined taking socio-ethnic
composition and diversity into account (Szalai, 2011b). Other research has suggested that a policy
of ‘controlled choice’ proves to be an effective strategy in avoiding school segregation by
balancing parents’ wishes to choose a school for their children and the political goal of countering
segregation (Kahlenberg, 2011).
INCLUD-ED confirmed that the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream education
instead of segregating them into special schools also benefits both the children with disabilities
and their peers without disabilities (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2007b). Disabled students develop
better social skills and relationships and are better prepared to be more independent in the future,
while other children learn to accept differences and become more tolerant and pro-social
(INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2008b). Starting from pre-primary education, including students with
disabilities in mainstream education and providing good quality tailored teaching when needed
(see Section 3.4) serve as a way to avoid inequalities later on, facilitate their integration into
society, and help them to live a normal life (Stauber and Parreira do Amaral, 2013).
Increasing availability and affordability of lifelong learning opportunities
PROFIT and LLL2010 pointed out that the availability and accessibility of relevant education
programmes, such as part-time and flexible (modular) study, help to increase participation in adult
education (Saar and Roosalu, 2011) particularly for adults with lower skills. The introduction of
specifically designed programmes can be an important tool for increasing the flexibility of access
to higher education. In order to increase learning flexibility for participants, adult education
institutions are gradually introducing modular systems and intense lessons over a shorter time
period (Boeren et al., 2011).
Lowering fees for formal adult education (relative to non-formal training activities and to average
wages) improves participation in formal adult education and, as underlined in LLL2010, also makes
formal adult education programmes more attractive to employer organisations (Hefler, 2010;
Boeren et al., 2011). As demonstrated by LLIGHTinEUROPE, public policy support for workers’
participation in lifelong learning in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovakia and Spain shows a diverse
array of government funding schemes and institutionalised mechanisms specifically aimed at
promoting training and skills development for employees in the private sector. In these countries
(except Slovakia) employees can benefit directly from state support via tax relief provisions that
incentivise individual education and investment in training. Collective agreements among
governments and social partners, and social partners themselves, play a critical role in Denmark,
Italy and Spain in facilitating employee access to free training opportunities independently of the
initiative and capacity of their employers to invest in lifelong learning (Ederer et al., 2015).
Lessons for policy and practice
Increasing preschool enrolment has a positive influence on children’s learning outcomes:
increases are not only associated with strong benefits in later education, but also in
improved social competence, which is particularly advantageous for children with socially
disadvantaged backgrounds;
Extending the length of compulsory education is associated with higher educational
attainment and employability, but only if educational transitions are smooth and
provision is of good quality;
Ethnically, socially or ability mixed schools and classes have a positive influence on
interaction between the various groups and facilitate the acceptance of difference
resulting in greater tolerance and respect for diversity among the whole school
Sensitive admission policies, which take into account the ethnic and social composition of
school districts via the system of ‘controlled choice’ or catchment area requirements,
tend to reduce school segregation;
Financial barriers often cause a bottleneck to accessing non-compulsory education,
whether it is early childhood education and care, or higher and adult education. This is
especially true for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.
3.2. Transitions
Transitions in an educational context are viewed as a process rather than an event and are affected
by a number of conditions that influence their outcomes, mitigating or reproducing disadvantage
and inequality. The GOETE project produced an analysis of the different patterns of educational
transitions, which reveals that the relationship between education and the life course is informed by
interaction and negotiation, where educational trajectories appear to be significantly influenced by
the institutional structures of education systems such as early selection and allocation to different
educational routes, and by the availability of support at the institutional level (Parreira do Amaral et
al., 2013).
3.2.1. What are the links between transition arrangements and inequalities and
social exclusion?
Early selection, streaming and ‘tracking’
Most of the FP6 and FP7 projects reviewed highlighted the fact that schools and training systems
have structural conditions in place that interrupt the transition process and often segregate the most
disadvantaged children, thus negatively affecting their educational attainment. This segregation
refers to the allocation of children into separate schools with different kinds of educational provision
through a process sometimes known as tracking (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2009a), and the streaming
of children into different groupings within schools on the basis of their educational attainment and
cognitive abilities.
Findings from the EDUMIGROM and INCLUD-ED projects demonstrated that streaming reduces
pupilslearning opportunities and achievement by diluting the positive peer effect that higher-ability
pupils have on their lower-ability classmates. Streaming blocks the development of positive
relationships across ethnic groups, and affects the opportunities to develop interethnic friendships.
Streaming also reduces the expectations of those in lower ability groups and tends to erode their
academic self-esteem and feelings of competence. In addition, it limits studentslevel of satisfaction
with their stream placement and the opportunities for upward mobility between streams. Since
streaming also influences teachersexpectations, their attitudes and behaviour towards particular
students can be affected, resulting in a focus on studentsdeficits rather than abilities and increased
stigmatisation, to the detriment of their learning and achievement (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2009a,
Szalai, 2011a).
Moreover, when streamed and non-streamed schools are compared, it can be seen that low
achievers in streamed schools are usually exposed to less and lower-quality content compared to
their low-achieving peers in mixed-ability classes. In addition, the level and pace of instruction in
heterogeneous middle school classes are similar to that provided in the top stream at streamed
schools. Therefore, the presence of low achievers in heterogeneous classes did not cause teachers
to slow down their curriculum, but rather appeared to allow low achievers to benefit from the same
richer and more fast-paced curriculum offered to the top stream (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2007b).
Nevertheless, research evidence also suggested that simply mixing students with different levels of
ability does not guarantee optimal conditions for all students to be included in the teaching process.
Other system conditions have to be in place for mixed classes to be effective, including, but not only,
adequate financial support and teacher preparation to deal with diversity in mixed classes (INCLUD-
ED Consortium, 2008b).
As demonstrated by the EDUMIGROM and INCLUD-ED, the segregation of children in different
schools most often occurs as a consequence of admission policies at the secondary level, such as the
selection of students based on their academic achievement. The age at which children are allocated
to these different forms of education is a crucial characteristic of the school system, not only in terms
of opportunities for advancement, but also in terms of equity and performance. Existing evidence
suggests that if this ‘trackingis carried out at an early age it can be detrimental to children's further
development, especially in the case of children coming from a low socioeconomic background
(; INCLUD-ED; OECD, 2012; Ballarino et al., 2012). EQUALSOC findings demonstrated that
when initial ability is controlled for, children put into a route for lower achievers tend to have lower
attainment than children who continue to be educated in a more integrated system. The more and
the earlier pupils are divided into separate groups according to their academic performance, the
more the pupilssocioeconomic background matters for their academic performance and future
advancement (OECD, 2012; EQUALSOC Network, 2011; Boeren et al., 2011). Systems that do this at
an early age also tend to show larger skill inequalities between students of different origins than
systems with comprehensive education arrangements (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2009a), and are
strongly linked to the reproduction of educational inequalities (Clycq et al., 2013 in Ryan et al., 2014).
As indicated by EDUMIGROM, the negative impact of early allocation to different tracks is further
exacerbated by the rigidity of systems offering limited mobility between school types and tracks,
which leads to highly unequal chances for those placed in lower quality (often vocational) tracks
(Szalai, 2011a). In a strongly segregated and hierarchical system such as in Flanders and the
Netherlands, the vocational track in particular is often perceived as the ‘waste basket, comprised of
pupils who are not capable of entering other tracks or not sufficiently motivated (Stevens and
Vermeersch, 2010 in Clycq et al., 2014). In addition, demonstrated that the processes of
differentiating the school system into various vocational pathways can explain school disaffection,
the increasing risk of early school leaving, low academic performance, social exclusion and
marginalisation (Araújo et al., 2013). GOETE project findings also confirmed that cross-national
differences in early school leaving or competence achievement are clearly correlated with structures
of differentiation, selectivity and permeability in national education systems (Parreira do Amaral et
al., 2011).
Repeating periods of study (grade repetition)
The idea behind making an underachieving child repeat a year is seen to have preventive and
corrective functions. In reality, however, the academic and social benefits of such ‘grade repetition
or ‘grade retentionare minimal and short-lived. Although some studies report that there may be
some gains for the affected students during the repeated year (see for example, Alein et al., 2009;
Krzypniak, 2011), this is partly because they repeat the same curriculum; and these gains tend to
fade away in later years.
Grade repetition has a clearly negative long-term social and academic impact; instead of having
positive effects regarding catching-up and self-assurance, grade repetition usually turns into a
powerful and lasting stigma, and increases the likelihood of achieving only a lower secondary
qualification or none at all (Jacob and Lefgren, 2009; Szalai, 2011a). Although 90 % of the students
who repeated a grade at some point in their educational career did so in the very early years, their
later grades still reflected the depreciating implications (Szalai, 2011a; INCLUD-ED Consortium,
2007a). As a consequence, school systems that use grade repetition are extensively associated with
poorer performance (OECD, 2013).
3.2.2. How can transition barriers be reduced?
Facilitating successful transitions requires due attention to studentspreparedness for the transition
and the support that they need before, during, and after the transition. Below we discuss to the ways
to ensure smooth transitions between pre-school and primary education, as well as between
primary and secondary school.
Support systems for transitions during early years
The transition from early childhood education and care (ECEC) to school is an important quality
aspect of both preschool services and primary education where different approaches and systems
intersect (Hayes, 2011). The wider research literature has shown that positive or negative
experiences during transition to school from ECEC both from an emotional and academic perspective
can be critical factors for a child’s future success and development (Moss, 2013). Positive transitions
can stimulate further development but negative experiences can cause lasting difficulties, leading to
problematic behaviour and possibly poorer performance (Woodhead and Moss, 2007). Therefore,
especially for children from a disadvantaged background, insufficient attention to transition
processes can reinforce barriers to successful integration into primary school (Bennett, 2012).
The CARE project findings highlighted various strategies Member States apply to facilitate transitions
between ECEC and primary school. Effective practices include: ensuring that written records of
children’s learning and development at the end of their pre-primary years are shared with the
primary school teachers (England, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Poland); collaboration with parents,
children’s visits to their primary school before starting, or collaboration between staff on both pre-
primary and primary school levels (England, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal); pre-primary and
primary education provided on the same premises (England). In addition, national guidelines for the
co-operation and coherence between kindergarten and school educators aimed towards children’s
development of understanding, competences, and skills help their transition and learning. Another
practice involves co-operation between ECEC staff and school teachers through local plans for
transition. These local plans are established on the basis of the ECEC curriculum and primary school
curriculum plans, and are intended to provide connections so that they support the continuity of
children’s learning processes (Sylva et al., 2015).
Support systems for transitions at later stages of education
As early student selection has been proved to have negative effects on educational attainment
and further success in life, it should be deferred until upper secondary education with
reinforcement of comprehensive schooling (OECD, 2012). GINI project findings demonstrated that
the negative effects of early allocation to different tracks, streaming and grouping by ability can
be reduced by limiting the duration of ability grouping, increasing the opportunities to change
streams or tracks, and by providing high curricular standards for students in different tracks. GINI
argues that a one-year postponement of the allocation into different tracks has a stronger effect
on reducing inequality than a one-year increase of compulsory schooling (Meschi and Scervini,
As demonstrated by INCLUD-ED and wider research literature, educational reforms delaying
allocation of student to different tracks until age 16 and unifying the curriculum in Sweden (1950s)
and Finland (1980s) resulted in improved educational achievement (Brunello and Checchi, 2007).
Different students’ abilities and needs are met by various modes of teaching, collaboration
between teachers, support from teaching assistants and small class sizes (INCLUD-ED Consortium,
2007a).The governance of the transition phases appears to be moving towards a customised
system that supports individuals according to their personal needs or groups of people with a
specific need such as immigrants who encounter language difficulties, for example, in the VaSkooli
project in Finland (Dale et al., 2012).
Lessons for policy and practice
Gradual, smooth transitions between education levels, particularly in the case of children
from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, have a positive effect on children’s learning
experiences and ensure continuity within education systems;
Possible strategies to ensure smooth transitions between ECEC and primary schools
include: facilitating collaboration between ECEC educators and primary school teachers
through local transition plans; ensuring curricula continuity between ECEC and primary
school; and gradual transition aided by school visits for children still attending
Repeating a year, i.e. grade retention, is detrimental to students’ long-term social and
academic development, but neither is it advisable to automatically promote pupils
without support;
Postponing the age at which children are tracked into different forms of provision helps
ensuring continuity of the education process, which is crucial specifically for socially
disadvantaged students. Countries where tracking is carried out early may facilitate the
transition experience for children by increasing their opportunity to change tracks or
streams, and by providing students across all tracks with high curricular standards.
3.3. Education governance
Education governance is essential for providing quality education and tackling educational
inequalities. While at the system level education governance does not directly link to student
performance and attainment, it shapes the conditions that determine student learning
experiences and outcomes.
3.3.1. What are the links between ineffective governance and inequalities in
GOETE findings revealed that in Europe there has been a widespread ‘fragmentation’ and ‘de-
synchronisation’ of policies, including the growing role of ‘non-educational’ public and third-sector
organisations, and increasing discontinuities between different levels of governance (Dale et al.,
2012). More specifically, the next section focuses on public funding strategies, the distribution of
powers and functions across different levels of education, as well as on challenges arising in
coordination and their influence on quality education provision.
Inadequate public spending schemes
Investing in education is an important element of governance. Education was among the first
policy areas that faced budget cuts in the wake of the financial crisis in Europe, particularly in
countries with large public deficits (Eurydice, 2013). In 2013, the EU spent on average 10.3 % of
its public expenditure on education, which is 3.2% lower than in 2010 (European Commission,
The research findings have shown, however, that variations in the resources devoted to schooling
were not a primary factor in determining student performance and the quality of educational
provision. The availability of resources is important, but it does not automatically improve
educational attainment. It is not how much is spent, but how the funding is spent, that makes a
bigger difference. INCLUD-ED and PROFIT confirmed this by showing that countries with similar
levels of investment per student have different educational results. Overall, INCLUD-ED suggested
that resources (measured as investment in education) can explain only about 19 % of the variation
in student performance. Therefore, if there is no systematic relationship between the amount of
resources spent (for example class size or per-student spending) and the skills that students
acquire, schools are unlikely to improve their students’ performance significantly by simply
increasing their expenditure without at the same time changing how the expenditure is organised
and distributed (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2009a). In some countries local authorities responsible
for school maintenance and the quality of education receive resources from the central budget,
based on the number of students in the municipality. PROFIT showed that such financing schemes
provide municipalities with the wrong incentive, namely to preserve or even increase the number
of students in their schools rather than to improve the learning environment in the schools and
invest in quality (Warzywoda-Kruszyńska et al., 2006).
Moreover, as indicated by CITISPYCE, funding based on headcounts may not always be sufficient
for improvement and providing additional support for disadvantaged children in schools with
small numbers of such children (Hussain and Higson, 2014). Schools having a relatively large
number of pupils with a migrant background receive much greater funding in total compared to
those with a small number of these pupils. This enables the former to apply a wider range of
support measures but leaves the options for the latter rather limited (Magi and Siarova, 2014).
In practice, the funding resources that are currently directed towards the education system are
used mainly for paying teacher salaries. In 2013, wages accounted for about 60 % of total public
expenditure on education in the EU. Intermediate consumption
was the second largest budget
item in most of the countries, and accounted for about 17 % of the total in the EU (European
Commission, 2015a). This means that there are very few resources left for actual improvement of
the learning environment and pedagogical strategies (PROFIT, 2007).
Decentralisation versus centralisation
While national governments continue to play a central role in education policies across Europe,
the distribution of responsibilities and of authority have been evolving towards more
decentralised systems in response to calls for greater efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and
transparency. This shift reflects the need to make education systems sufficiently flexible and
innovative to adapt to diversity and change and allow for the active participation of learners at all
levels of the education process.
Research has confirmed that the level of autonomy set at the national level impacts on the extent
to which schools can be innovative and efficient in addressing the specific needs of learners
(Looney, 2009). Highly centralised systems tend to be more rigid and inefficient in tackling
inequalities. All regional and local administrative bodies in such systems are supposed to be
organised and function in the same way, regardless of their size, socioeconomic context and local
labour-market situation. Such systems give local authorities peripheral roles, even if they try to
develop actions to overcome some of the system limitations (Dale et al., 2012).
However, the GINI project highlighted that, if greater autonomy does not go hand in hand with
proper accountability and a comprehensive system of monitoring for quality, simply increasing the
autonomy of educational institutions can also have negative effects on equality. More precisely,
it can foster differentiation among schools and universities, boost the attainment of better-
endowed students, and leave behind students from weaker backgrounds (Soto Calvo, 2015; GINI,
Unclear division of responsibilities
Deficiencies in school functioning, as indicated by PROFIT, can also be caused by lack of
coordination and synergy between different stakeholders when providing education for specific
groups (PROFIT, 2007).
For example, poor coordination and a fragmented response is reported to be one of the main
obstacles when it comes to the education of children in public care. Findings underline the
importance of both integrating care and education services and coordinating them in order to
Intermediate consumption includes the purchase of goods and services needed to provide education services, such
as electricity, stationary, paper, books, cleaning services, etc.
provide continued support to young people in need. However, as indicated by the YIPPEE research
project, the education of children in care is often a shared responsibility of the Ministry of
Education and the Ministry of Welfare, possibly leading to inconsistent services provided to these
children due to dual accountability (Casas and Montserrat Boada, 2010).
In the case of lifelong learning, LLL2010 confirmed that the unclear division of responsibility
between different agencies and institutions, and the ensuing confusion in the formulation and
implementation of policy, is one of the main barriers faced by many countries in ensuring
consistent quality of education. In all countries, lifelong learning policy is a cross-sectoral issue
with links to education, the labour market and social policies. In some countries, the labour-
market element prevails, which has led to a number of initiatives focused on employability and
the development of human capital, rather than on broader personal development. Although
effective coordination does not necessarily imply a single body, the lack of such a body leads to
implementation challenges in many countries. Poor coordination can also be explained by the lack
of a lifelong learning vision, ineffective arrangements at the local level and a lack of effective
coordination structures in general (Holford et al., 2007).
Barriers to recognition of previous learning and qualifications
For those traditionally alienated from the formal school system, the more flexible non-formal
educational sector can serve as a key bridge towards social inclusion, as shown by the results of
LLL2010 (Saar and Roosalu, 2011). However, LLL2010 project findings demonstrated that the
arrangements for recognising non-formal and informal learning are weak in the majority of the
countries studied (Holford et al., 2007). While some countries have systems in place, the
assessment required by this process may discourage certain people from engaging with learning,
thus, potentially increasing social exclusion (LLL2010 Project Consortium, 2011).
The main obstacles to recognition of prior non-formal or informal learning include the lack of a
national legal framework and guidelines, the absence of quality monitoring of non-formal
educational sectors and poor regulation of competition between formal institutions and the non-
formal sector. At the meso-level, LLL2010 demonstrated that there is not enough communication
with students regarding opportunities for the recognition of prior learning, a lack of institutional
pathways and a high administrative burden involved (Saar and Roosalu, 2011).
LLL2010 underlined a relative ‘policy vacuum’ and a lack of national priorities as regards non-
formal education, which leads to the uneven development of this sector as well as to its potential
absorption by the formal education sector. The project’s conclusions called for increased focus on
the transition and connection between the non-formal and formal education sectors (Saar and
Roosalu, 2011). The recognition of learning and the development of a qualifications framework
have been seen as important ways to ensure equality in adult learning and in lifelong learning in
general (Holford et al., 2007).
In addition, the EUMARGINS, IMPROVE and KATARSIS projects emphasised that in some European
countries a lack of systematic recognition of previous educational attainment can be another
barrier to successful transitions to further education and/or the labour market, and this can
complicate the inclusion of immigrants into the host society.
New migrants often face difficulties upon arrival: they undergo occupational downgrading and
earn lower wages than natives with similar measured characteristics (Borjas 1990, 1994 in Kogan,
2015). One of the explanations for this is that the skills immigrants bring from abroad are not fully
transferable to the new setting, or are even lost, which is often the case with human capital, social
or cultural resources (Kogan et al., 2011 in Kogan, 2015). In addition, EUMARGINS found that the
prior education of adult immigrants may not be properly acknowledged in the host country (Kallas
et al., 2011), which limits immigrants’ opportunities to access the education level corresponding
to their age and skill levels (Tierolf and Nederland, 2007).
3.3.2. How can education governance foster equality and inclusion?
Education systems are undergoing transformation as many countries continue to carry out
education reforms. These reforms aim to alter educational governance structures, financial
schemes, and curricula with the ultimate aim of improving the learning outcomes of young people.
A number of solutions offered by the FP6 and FP7 projects reviewed are discussed below.
Promoting autonomy linked to accountability
As shown previously, the level of autonomy assigned to schools impacts on the extent to which
they can be innovative and flexible in addressing specific learner needs; moreover, decentralised
policies and municipal empowerment can foster new practices and their institutionalisation at
higher (transnational) levels (Moulaert et al., 2010). At the institutional level, the findings of the
survey conducted in the GOETE project pointed to the need to empower school principals relative
to political authorities by increasing their autonomy and resources, as they lacked the room to
manoeuvre and the decision-making power to address high expectations (Rinne et al., 2012).
Centralisation, in turn, tends to lead to the opposite outcomes: for example, the GINI project
found that increasing the degree of standardisation of curriculum was ineffective in reducing
educational inequality (GINI, 2013).
However, greater autonomy may not necessarily help combat educational inequalities as it may
foster differentiation among schools and universities, and can leave behind students from weaker
socioeconomic backgrounds (GINI, 2013). To work effectively, it should be linked to
comprehensive systems of accountability and quality assurance (Jensen and Iannone, 2015). A
clear systematic framework and mechanisms for monitoring the quality of education provision can
give a clear picture of the adjustments that need to be made due to the changing environment.
Data is usually collected through external and internal school evaluation (quality assurance)
complemented with that collected at the national level. Monitoring should function not only for
the purpose of system maintenance but also as a ‘watchful eye’ over pupils and teachers. External
and internal evaluation of schools and national sample testing of pupils are all good data sources
(Eurydice, 2009). GOETE further argued that shifting the locus of accountability for educational
governance from input to output (results driven) may appear to be a central tenet in making
education systems more accountable both to those who benefit from them as well as to those
who fund them (Rinne et al., 2012).
Providing sufficient funding
As discussed above, some projects emphasised that increasing funding does not by itself
necessarily improve educational attainment; however, public spending that is well targeted may
be beneficial in terms of improving educational systems. For example, in relation to the earliest
stages of formal learning, the CARE study showed how resources for research and development
work were increased in Norway to provide lecturers with a better knowledge of the ECEC field,
and to ensure research-based professional education
(Jensen and Iannone, 2015). Regarding
secondary education, project findings often indicated that the availability of sufficient and
stable government funding was particularly crucial, especially in the context of the continuing
Overall, allocation to ECEC research tripled in the country between 2006 and 2014.
professionalisation of school staff and the employment of support staff to engage with students
at risk of early school leaving (Nouwen et al., 2015).
EDUMIGROM and INCLUD-ED also reported that greater funding for particular areas and for
educational institutions with more migrant children and children in care can help provide the
additional teaching resources required to support the extra educational needs of disadvantaged
young people. In this case, targeted funding instead of schemes based on head counts could be
more effective in equipping schools with necessary resources to provide the conditions for
inclusion (as in educational priority zones in France, which receive 10 % more funding to reduce
class sizes in disadvantaged schools) (Szalai, 2011a).
LLL2010 also showed that public programmes to support adult education financially may also
prove to be relevant in terms of achieving equality in educational opportunities, particularly for
those holding low formal qualifications (Saar and Roosalu, 2011). Examples that have also proved
effective include state support via tax relief schemes that incentivise individual education and
investment in training, the collaboration of governments and social partners in facilitating
employee access to training and lifelong learning, and specific regional programmes focused on
employment and industrial development (Ederer et al., 2015).
Overall, efforts to better coordinate policies, increase autonomy, funding and monitoring are all
relevant in terms of achieving an inclusive education environment in Europe. However, in relation
to governance, the review of the European research projects revealed that a knowledge base on
the exact measures proven to be effective is still relatively lacking.
Lessons for policy and practice
An adequate level of autonomy, complimented by systems of accountability, quality
assurance and clear divisions of responsibilities, enables municipalities and schools to be
both innovative and flexible in addressing the specific needs of learners;
Fragmentation of education systems has led to unclear divisions of responsibilities and
ineffective implementation of national strategies. This is especially true in areas that are
cross-sectoral, such as the education of children in care, formal and non-formal adult
education, and VET;
Targeted financing to disadvantaged schools improves educational provision for
vulnerable groups;
Non-formal and informal education still lack formal recognition and clear strategic
direction in many Member States.
3.4. Flexibility of curricula and teacher preparedness
Accommodation of the ever-increasing diversity of cultures and abilities in existing schools poses
a major challenge to teachers and curriculum. Several FP6 and FP7 projects (INCLUD-ED,
EDUMIGROM, GOETE and LLL2010 in particular) looked at how diversity is reflected in the teaching
content and teacher education across Europe and what impact it has on the promotion of equality
and social inclusion.
3.4.1. What are the links between the quality of curricula and teacher preparedness
for inequalities and social exclusion?
Uneven quality of teaching content
PROFIT findings pointed to a growing criticism of formal education curricula in some European
education systems, identifying a lack of focus on social and decision-making skills and a lack of
relevance in the content of teaching. Also, curriculum delivery can become challenging if it is seen
as too rigid with insufficient teacher autonomy and the inflexibility of school curricula has
especially negative effects on those whose abilities are lower or higher than the average
(Warzywoda-Kruszyńska et al., 2006).
The EDUMIGROM study emphasised the importance of a curriculum reflecting the growing
diversity of school populations. However, migration is often presented as a problem rather than
as a potential resource in many education systems. Eurocentrism, blindness towards diversity or
the opposite, explicit separation of different cultures, are all identified as elements contributing
to the alienation of migrant children (Dale et al., 2012; Szalai, 2011a). Moreover, EUMARGINS
findings suggested that even though proficiency in the language of instruction is a major tool and
precondition for learning, many schools are not always guided by an explicit coherent language
policy that is informed by research and adapted to the different levels of the education system
(Paasche and Fangen, 2011).
In addition, and GOETE projects emphasised that the quality of content and teaching may
also vary across private and public schools. The dichotomy between state schools and private
schools - the latter largely attended by children from the upper middle class is not reflected in
policy discourse, as private schools do not fall under the same regulatory demands as state schools
(Ryan et al., 2014). While GOETE findings illustrated that private provision of education (for
example, confessional schools in the Netherlands) may be beneficial in terms of alternative
curricula and pedagogical arrangements, it also emphasised that a high proportion of private
schools also contributes to unequal access to education (Parreira do Amaral et al., 2011). In
addition, NESSE (2011) highlighted that the private supplementary tutoring practiced throughout
the EU can have a negative influence on the quality of mainstream schooling by giving perverse
incentives to teachers to encourage more tutoring by not giving highest quality classes.
At the level of higher education, privatisation has also led to quality differences in education across
institutions and the devaluation of higher education as a whole. As indicated by PROFIT, there is
no longer a direct link between graduation from higher education and the opportunity to get a
better job and be upwardly mobile in social and economic terms, which can also be explained by
the labour market factors (PROFIT, 2007).
Another quality-related issue is faced by VET systems, which are not seen as attractive (see Section
4.2). As illustrated by PROFIT study findings, the perception of VET as lower in status and prestige
than general education is further exacerbated by the fact that in some countries vocational
education is not considered to be sufficiently practical and work-based (Warzywoda-Kruszyńska
et al., 2006); and some vocational training schools lack sufficient teaching staff (INCLUD-ED
Consortium, 2008b).
Lack of teacher preparedness
INCLUD-ED, EDUMIGROM and YIPPEE found that many teachers do not have the necessary skills
and knowledge to tackle educational inequalities through their pedagogical practices. For
instance, teachers can lack sensitivity when it comes to the insecurities and difficulties
experienced by pupils with different ethnic/migrant backgrounds. Observations showed that
teachers often attribute the causes of educational failure to external factors: students’
disadvantaged situation, a lack of motivation and belief in the importance of education on the part
of the family, and a lack of socialisation in the values important for the school (Szalai, 2011a;
INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2008b). Moreover, numerous interviews with teachers demonstrated
that many of them thought that ethnic separation was an unavoidable outcome and rarely
considered that school can be an active agent in the process of integration (Szalai, 2011b).
The literature on the inclusion of disabled students and young people from a public care
background (INCLUD-ED and YIPPEE projects in particular) identified the lack of adequate teacher
preparedness as one of the barriers to inclusion (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2008b; Jackson and
Cameron, 2011). Despite the fact that classrooms in many countries are heterogeneous in terms
of ability and special needs students are included in the classroom, teachers find it difficult to use
group work or collaborative methods to teach mixed classrooms and continue using traditional
lecture-style didactic methods.
Despite the evident need, teacher training and professional development in many European
countries do not include courses or modules to prepare teachers to understand and accommodate
diversity in the classroom. According to Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)
conducted by OECD, teaching in a multicultural or multilingual setting is one of the priority areas
where teachers in many European countries reported the greatest need for professional
development to tackle current deficits (OECD, 2014).
3.4.2. How can improving the quality of content and teacher preparedness facilitate
inclusion and equality?
Establishing an inclusive curriculum
As demonstrated earlier, a proportion of students in EU Member States are not being fully
engaged in education due to a culturally impervious, rigid and inflexible curriculum. The idea
behind an inclusive curriculum is that mainstream education should adapt to the various needs of
the learners and strive to implement the universal human right to education for all (INCLUD-ED
Consortium, 2007a).
INCLUD-ED outlined a number of strategies for developing curricula that include a multicultural
perspective reflecting the diversity of the student body. According to INCLUD-ED, incorporating
multiculturalism as a topic in the instruction of languages and social sciences can help students to
develop critical thinking and understand societal processes better. In some schools, separate
subjects on tolerance and multiculturalism prove to be effective in promoting understanding
between cultures. Even when distinct cultural perspectives are not directly addressed in the
curriculum provided by ministries or local governments, teachers themselves can acknowledge
the presence of different cultures in their classrooms. Moreover, the evidence showed that, when
multicultural topics are delivered by individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, students
experience a positive impact on their learning (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2008b). Introducing multi-
cultural curricula coupled with targeted support, such as the provision of bilingual classes, has
proved to be an effective integration strategy for newly arrived migrant children in Denmark and
Sweden, as demonstrated by EDUMIGROM (Szalai, 2011a).
According to the research evidence from the INCLUD-ED study, the most successful educational
actions for inclusion, overcoming early school leaving and the risk of exclusion, use the same
curricula standards and learning objectives for all learners. To support the pupils in need,
institutions employ specific strategies for extra support, which may involve additional human or
time resources, or special types of curricula planning. One such method is the development of an
inclusive individualised curriculum, which adapts teaching methods to each student’s learning
needs in order to maximise his/her learning potential. The Individualised Education Plan in Finland,
for example, also helps to monitor the progress of the students with special educational needs
(SEN) and provide extra support measures if and when they are needed (INCLUD-ED Consortium,
2012a). Tailoring the curriculum can be a useful tool to facilitate access to mainstream education
for students with disabilities; however, the common framework should be maintained to the
extent possible. Flexible learning objectives and activities are potential strategies to improve the
curriculum and make it accessible to diverse students. ICT has facilitated learning for this group of
students, by improving their communication skills and overcoming some of the barriers they face
in education, work and other areas of social life (INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2008b). Provision of
personal assistants to accompany teachers in the classroom is also among the strategies that
increase the accessibility of learning for SEN children.
Providing opportunities for teacher training for diversity
Educating teachers to overcome the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities afforded by
diversity is a complex and multifaceted endeavour. There is ample evidence that one-off courses
on a specific topic are not sufficient to bring about lasting behavioural change. Although most
initial teacher education programmes include some form of diversity training, it is often in the
form of a single module or elective course, which is unlikely to have a major lasting impact
throughout a teacher’s career.
To manage learner diversity, teachers should first of all have an understanding of the diverse
backgrounds of their students matched by the relevant skills to deal with these differences (Rinne
et al., 2012). This implies not only basic knowledge about different ethnic cultural backgrounds
developed during teacher education (Gay, 2010), but also the skills necessary to integrate pupils,
particularly in terms of developing academic language. The Finnish example overviewed by
INCLUD-ED suggested that initial and in-service teacher training based on relevant scientific
research, combining significant theory and practice is an effective measure to promote diversity
(INCLUD-ED Consortium, 2012a).
In order to support all learners, teachers should be competent in providing different types of
instruction, as well as using different pedagogical resources to ensure equal learning opportunities
for all pupils. To develop this competence, teachers should themselves have experience with
learning in various groups and heterogeneous classrooms, using different learning methods,
materials and approaches (Bishop, 2010). As illustrated by EUMARGINS, having a workforce that
represents the ethnic diversity of the local community helps to overcome language and cultural
barriers when communicating with parents and involving them in the school. EDUMIGROM also
confirmed that when teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds were part of the staff, they not
only helped to untangle interethnic tensions, but also provided valuable role models of success
for ethnic minority students. This is even more significant if ethnic minority teachers teach
subjects that do not relate to their ethnic background (Szalai, 2011b).
In policy agenda, most teacher competence frameworks (developed to a different extent across
European countries) include awareness of diversity issues as one of the competence areas that
future teachers have to acquire (Caena, 2014). In practice, however, teacher-training programmes
are largely failing to prepare teachers to implement intercultural education. Although some focus
on intercultural education is included in the teacher-training curriculum, it is usually given a low
priority and is often not mandatory.
Professional development of teachers is also very important in the adult education sector. LLL2010
highlighted that the adult education sector needs well-trained professionals who can work in
secure and continuous employment contracts. On the one hand, they must be specialists in the
subjects they are teaching; on the other hand, they need to master teaching skills such as the use
of appropriate didactical methods and psychological insight. The pedagogical skills of teachers in
adult education thus play a major role in supporting learners and fostering their active
involvement in the learning process. LLL2010 highlighted the importance of examining the
competence profiles of teachers, planning professional development according to the teachers’
needs, and encouraging the exchange of experiences in teacher training for adult education
(Holford et al., 2007).
Lessons for policy and practice
Flexible and culturally relevant curricula facilitate the inclusion of more children;
Teacher education and continuing professional development do not currently provide
teachers with the skills and competences necessary to face the challenges of diversity,
nor do they provide intercultural education, multi-lingual teaching, etc.;
Students respond well and perform better if their teachers reflect the diversity of the
school population and serve as their role models of success.
Chapter 4. Measures and practices promoting
inclusion in and through education and training
This chapter focuses on measures and practices promoting inclusion in and through education and
training. More specifically it discusses inclusive school practices, vocational, adult education and
training, informal and non-formal learning and cross-sectoral synergies.
4.1. Inclusive school practices
School practices are inclusive when they cover a broad range of schooling experiences and
succeed in helping children with diverse backgrounds and abilities to be happy and effective
learners. Inclusive school practices aim to create caring, disciplined and fair schools (Leicester,
In the projects analysed, measures for inclusive school practices looked mainly at: the impact of
school-level factors on the performance, educational and life trajectories of students from different
backgrounds; the accessibility of education and measures for addressing inequality and promoting
inclusion in schools; and ways in which schools and educational strategies provide young people
with capabilities to function as active citizens.
4.1.1. A holistic approach in school education
The holistic approach views schools as multidimensional and interactive systems that can learn,
change and grow and involves strong support to schools when tackling complex issues such as
growing diversity, inequalities and social exclusion (European Commission, 2015b). A holistic
approach is an overall school style aimed at every child’s comprehensive development,
encompassing academic, emotional and non-cognitive aspects (Leicester, 2008).