The workshop “The whole-school approach as a tool to prevent radicalisation and extremism” took place in Paris on 5 March 2019 within the framework of joint ETUCE, EFEE (European Federation of Education Employers) and ESHA (European School Heads Association) project EU CONVINCE (EU Common Values Inclusive Education) and was organised with the support of the project’s partner in France, SNES-FSU.

A strong network system of education stakeholders within and around school community, combined with mutual respect and constructive dialogue among all education personnel (including the support personnel), school leaders, learners and their parents, are key elements of the whole-school approach as a tool to prevent radicalisation and extremism, concluded the participants of the second training workshop of the EU CONVINCE project. The workshop “The whole-school approach as a tool to prevent radicalisation and extremism” took place in Paris on 5 March 2019 within the framework of joint ETUCE, EFEE (European Federation of Education Employers) and ESHA (European School Heads Association) project EU CONVINCE (EU Common Values Inclusive Education) and was organised with the support of the project’s partner in France, SNES-FSU. Around 40 participants from Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, , Malta, Poland,  Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom took part in the workshop.

Presenting the preliminary results of the project online survey conducted amongst ETUCE, EFEE and ESHA member organisations and desk research, Dominique Danau, SAGO Research, reported that the most common challenges in implementation of the whole-school approach include the limited extent to which it is implemented, available knowledge and expertise on the topic, effective school leadership, and the full commitment of all relevant stakeholders Dr. Catherine Lowry-O’Neill from the project’s partner, School for Lifelong Learning of ‘Waterford Institute of Technology’ (Ireland), reflected on the reasons for which people become extremist and presented key elements of the whole-school approach as a tool to prevent the radicalisation through education. Complementing these presentations, Milica Popovic, a consultant and Council of Europe expert, explained the competences for democratic culture proposed by the recently published Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (Council of Europe).

In the smaller working groups participants shared their national examples of challenges encountered by education stakeholders when implementing the whole-school approach, including the lack of time and space due to the workload and restrictive curriculum which focuses only on the preparations for the exams. Participants also proposed good practices and innovative solutions on encouraging a democratic culture in education, such as promoting unique critical thinking skills, preparing children to fully respect different views, cultures, traditions from the very early age, collaborating with the local community ,  and ensuring the cooperation of all stakeholders in education from support personnel to school leaders and education authorities.. Notably, the good practices and solutions from the  participants at the workshop are to be integrated in the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) which is being prepared by the European Inter-University Center for Human Rights and Digitalisation, to take place from 29 April to 9 June 2019 and is open for all education actors.

The workshop participants concluded that national and educational contexts vary significantly so guidance on the implementation of the whole-school approach should be tailed to the local needs. Therefore, some participants presented their national examples of the whole-school approach in education, such as organising seminars with educators of a local school for the management and teachers of the school with 70% migrant children in Malta, or creating various local regulations on safe schools which include the whole-school approach in the Netherlands.  Additionally, Rob O'Donnel, OBESSU (Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions ), provided examples of students’ initiatives on a whole-school approach, such as creating school charters in Ireland or organising integration football tournaments in Germany.

The last training workshop of the project will take place in Berlin on the 2nd April 2019 focusing on the ‘Education for digital democratic citizenship in the Internet era: Challenges and opportunities’.

To learn more about the EU CONVINCE project follow #EUConvince (Twitter) and #Schoolsforinclusion (Facebook).

To see the photos of the training workshop, please click here.