The governance of school education systems

Here you can access the latest in collaborative work between the European Commission, ministries of education and European stakeholder organisations on the governance of school education. Read about their shared vision and policy guidance.

The future of European school education

EU education ministers have highlighted again the need for modern approaches to teaching and learning and to the governance of school education systems in order to help schools respond to the changing educational demands of learners and society.

In 2016, the ET2020 Working Group on Schools, made up of representatives from European education ministries and stakeholder organisations, was asked to critically reflect on the governance of school education and how systems can address the serious challenges of quality and equity in order to strive for better learning outcomes for all young people.

Their work over the last two years is designed to feed back directly into decision-making at national, regional and local levels.

Schools as learning organisations

At the heart of their vision for governance is the concept of schools as learning organisations within school education as an integrated learning system.

The belief is that within each country or region, policymakers and other stakeholders have the capacity to work better together towards shared goals and make positive change happen based on evidence, reflection and shared practice, ensuring that policy reform leads to change and has a lasting positive impact.

More information can be found in the report: European ideas for better learning: the governance of school education systems.

‘Education and training 2020’ and peer learning

Drawing on recent research and through regular meetings and ‘Peer Learning Activities’ (extended meetings over several days, examining case studies), the members have set out guiding principles for policy development. These are key elements for policymakers to think about when considering what action to take in the future. The statements are put together with specific examples from countries, to help policymakers and other educational leaders critically reflect on how different approaches have been put into practice across Europe, and with what results.

By bringing countries and organisations together to learn from each other, and by critically reflecting and creating together, the work can be made relevant to all countries and adaptable by all education systems, while acknowledging that each country’s education system is different and highly complex.

More about the Working Group and how the ‘ET2020’ process supports countries and stakeholders can be seen in this short video:

New policy guidance on governance – For ministries, regional and local authorities and school leaders

The new package aims to support Member States in increasing the capacity of school education for systemic and sustainable change.

You can read the guiding principles and contemporary policy examples in the following documents. Click on each title to download (in English):

Main report:

European ideas for better learning: the governance of school education systems

report cover

Four thematic reports:

  1. Quality assurance for school development: ways of improving interplay between mechanisms that are both external and internal to schools.
  2. Continuity and transitions in learner development: ways to ensure learning pathways are sufficiently flexible and the conditions for providing appropriate guidance and support.
  3. Teachers and school leaders in schools as learning organisations: policies that promote and support teacher collaboration, autonomy and distributed leadership within professional learning communities.
  4. Networks for learning and development across school education systems: a deeper understanding of the purpose and nature of networks for innovation and implementation, and participation of multi-level stakeholders.

You can also download this full report, which contains all 5 documents in one PDF.

inspiring change logo