School education systems supporting innovation: new study

Image: Tyler Olson /

The European Commission is funding a study of how schools in Europe can be innovative in their practices and encourage teachers to develop their pedagogical approaches in new ways.

The aim of this study is to better understand how policy-makers can support all levels of the education system (national, regional, local, school and classroom) in developing innovative school organisational practices and pedagogies where there is a need.

The study will also aim to analyse what systemic elements act as catalysts and inhibitors for schools as regards sustainable innovation. While European education systems have many examples of innovative and successful schools, operating even in disadvantaged environments, these are still viewed as exceptions, and learning from one school to another is seen not to be happening to its full potential.

The researchers have already begun by interviewing experts from across Europe and are now entering the second phase of the work by visiting schools in twelve regions to investigate:

  • What schools are doing to serve the diverse needs of their pupils better and to develop with innovative approaches, particularly those schools in more disadvantaged areas;
  • What elements of good practices can be transferable to other contexts and which are much harder to replicate elsewhere;
  • What policies directed at the national/regional/local levels have the best promise of facilitating learning and innovation processes in European schools.

This research will continue throughout 2017 and will not only deliver pointers for policy-makers to support transformation within schools but will also provide recommendations and tools that can help school communities in their efforts to learn and become more progressive in their organisational practices and pedagogical approaches.

The study is being conducted by the Public Policy and Management Institute on behalf of the European Commission.