The launch of the report follows a two-year pilot project, involving multiple stakeholders in the Irish education sector, coordinated by the Teaching Council and funded by the European Union via the Technical Support Instrument, and implemented by the OECD with support from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) and Department of Education.
The project was designed to develop understanding of the purpose and role that local school community engagement can play in strengthening education policy making and implementation processes in Ireland.
With nearly 4,000 schools in Ireland, the project explored methods to support education policy making and enactment by leveraging the contribution of all members of the school community, with a view to fostering citizen-centred innovation.
The project took its beginnings from a pioneering initiative first developed by the Teaching Council called BEACONS – Bringing Education Alive for our Communities On a National Scale. BEACONS was developed by the Teaching Council in 2019 as a process that promotes inclusive, facilitated conversations between students, parents, teachers, leaders, and other local stakeholders on educational topics that are important to them.
Dr Lynn Ramsey, Director of the Teaching Council said, “We’re very pleased that our BEACONS process contributed so meaningfully as the basis for this study. This follows from our commitment to encourage innovative and inclusive engagement at both local and national levels in education. The report provides opportunities for insight and innovation from the grassroots to complement national policy making processes for the benefit of society in general.
“We are grateful for the support and leadership of the Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support, the OECD, Department of Education, Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and all stakeholders. This initiative underscores the importance of local school communities in shaping our educational future. Creating channels for open and constructive dialogue between students, parents, teachers, school leaders, and other stakeholders is essential, where every voice in education not only counts but also contributes to a collective future of excellence in teaching and learning, supporting positive outcomes for all.”
The Teaching Council thanked DG REFORM, the OECD and everyone who took part in the project.
The report can be found on the OECD website.
The Technical Support Instrument (TSI) is the EU programme that provides tailor-made technical expertise to EU Member States to design and implement reforms.
The OECD’s Implementing Education Policies team works to bridge the gap between education policy and practice in schools through peer learning opportunities and tailored support for countries for effective education change.
Project partners included:
- The Teaching Council
- Department of Education
- Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
- Ombudsman for Children’s Office
- National Parents’ Council
- National Council for Curriculum and Assessment
- National Council for Special Education
The project consisted of four phases:
- Phase 1 Official commencement of the project
- Phase 2 Initial Analysis by OECD of the education context in Ireland
- Phase 3 Design, pilot, and evaluation of model(s) of engagement
- Phase 4 Development of a roadmap.