School leaders’ conference in Cyprus

One of our most important partners, the European School Heads Association has held its – postponed – biennial conference in Limassol, Cyprus on 18-21 May 2022 “School Leadership 2020+: Trends & Challenges”, for quality in education and for inclusive schools. The event gathered hundreds of school leaders from all over Europe and beyond. We could contribute by a very successful workshop on Leveraging parents’ experiences during school closures for renewing education, based on our #NewEducationDeal – #ParentsFirst initiative.

A period that exposed families to a more in-depth look into their children’s schooling and teachers to a reality where learning is happening in a very different way provides a great opportunity for the so much necessary rethinking and renewing of education. UNESCO published their vision of education that can lead to delivering on SDG4: quality, inclusive education for all back in 2015, demanding a shift towards tackling education as a common good with shared responsibility for educating and learning. In 2018 the World Bank published research data showing that this is a very timely demand as school systems fail to provide children with basic skills, knowledge and competences. These can be used as an overall starting point to deliver on SDG 4 using the experiences of parents, families and professionals as leverage.

The past two years have proven that parents, families and schools can share the responsibility for schooling needs – with some families in need of more external support – but they do not necessarily wish to do so, and they have every right to leave this with schools. Parents and families have also had the opportunity to experience more closely what the problems of schooling are.

Recent global research clearly shows that there is a need to rethink the relationship between families and institutionalised services to ensure the rights of the child. Parents International has carried out additional research and created a global, forward-looking, evidence-based initiative #NewEducationDeal-#ParentsFirstNew. This workshop introduced our initiative, its background and achievements so far, and also offered the possibility for a lot of discussion around parental engagement and school rejuvenation.

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