27 partners from 17 European countries have started a 4-year joint journey to improve education for children all over the continent. The kick-off meeting took place in Amsterdam on 25 February and not only the partners were present, but the European Commission also showed their commitment to this work by being represented at the meeting on a high level. The European Education Policy Network on Teachers and School Leaders is a Europe-wide network of relevant organisations (policymakers, practitioners, researchers and stakeholders) to promote co-operation, policy development and implementation at different governance levels, and to support the European Commission’s policy work on teachers and school leaders. This network is building on existing activities developed at European level, especially initiatives and projects supported through European Union programmes in the field of education. The first year of the network is dedicated to careers and professional development of teachers and school heads.
During the kick-off meeting we were trying to narrow the focus of this work in order to start developing desk research on the state of art in education research, policy and practice. Practice focuses on the point of view of teachers and parents, and Parents International will contribute substantially to this work.
Representing the European Commission, Michael Teutsch, Head of Unit on Schools emphasised that it is a new phenomenon that education is high on the general political agenda of the European Union, and teachers and school heads are considered to be crucial for any improvement to education provisions. The EEPNetwork can and should take advantage of this new-born interest and take a professional lead in policy change for real improvement.
The possibilities for the network to have an impact lies in working together with policy makers in the European Commission Working Group on Schools, but can also count on contributing to the planned work of upcoming EU Presidencies, especially the Finnish (2019) and Croatian (2020).
To do so, EEPN has decided to hold its first annual conference in Jyvaskyla, Finland on 13 November. The project website will be available soon and everybody interested will be able to follow our work there.