During the last several years, the European Commission sponsored four EU policy networks: on literacy (ELINET), on school leadership (EPNoSL), on migrant education (Sirius) and on key competences (KeyCoNet). EFEE is active member of the European Policy Network on School Leadership and participates this year as member in the Transitional Committee.

On 11-13 April, the four networks met for the first time all together for a Conference in Brussels, which was attended by some 109 participants. The aim of the event was to provide a platform for the four EU policy networks to:

(i) discuss the issues of concern within the community of their own members;

(ii) start a dialogue between the different networks, mobilize their thinking, learn from each other, and find synergies; and

(iii) sustain and focus their work towards our EU priorities;

During the first day of the Conference, through a poster exhibition and a plenary session, the networks highlighted the activities of their respective organizations in view of the main EU policy priorities:

(i) migrant agenda;

(ii) inclusiveness in schools;

(iii) development of key competences and skills; and

(iv) follow-up to the Paris Declaration for citizenship education and prevention of radicalization.

It became apparent that the implementation of the broad EU agenda depends on joining forces of many different actors. For the EU policy networks this comes naturally because they include practitioners, policy makers, researchers, and members of the civil society. In addition, the activities of the four networks are closely intertwined. For example, literacy is the fundamental pre-requisite for any educational activity. In its work ELINET has already recognized literacy as a basic “human right”. School leadership, on the other hand, is the most important instrument for the promotion of any reforms on the ground.

On the second day, two sets of workshops explored (i) the four main EU policy priorities in view of the potential contributions on part of the networks and (ii) the challenges facing the networks in terms of sustainability, increasing their impact, and the feasibility of structural cooperation between them. In the end, some concrete further actions within and across networks for the promotion of the four EU education priorities were presented.

On the third day of the event, in a unique joint meeting with policy makers from DG Schools, the networks highlighted their potential for contribution towards the implementation of the respective national and EU educational goals. Unfortunately, due to transportation disruptions in Brussels very few of the policy makers were able to arrive on time for the meeting.

Overall, participants in the Conference expressed their satisfaction with the opportunity presented to meet and discuss issues of common interest and concluded that this initiative of bringing together all different EU policy networks should continue in the future. A clear desire for closer work with the Commission and policy makers at both national and EU levels was also expressed.

All presentations of the Conference may be found online.

 Lukas Sedlak Womens Jersey