Postcards from Europe: Amsterdam

Philippa Stobbs, Assistant Director, CDCAuthor Philippa Stobbs, Assistant Director, CDCDate 26 May 2016

Hello from Amsterdam! The first bi-annual meeting of the European Agency in 2016 is being held in Amsterdam. 

The big discussion yesterday morning was about migrant children and inclusion, a significant issue across Europe but an acute one for those closest to the points of entry into Europe. In the afternoon, there was a discussion of the European Agency’s current work on inclusive early childhood education and what member countries want to get from this work.

We are not alone in many of the issues we are trying to address in the UK. When the National Co-ordinators met this morning, we looked at a brief survey of different countries’ use of teaching assistants. With different labels and a wide range of functions, there is nonetheless a concern across Europe that the way we deploy support assistants can get in the way of rather than facilitate inclusion. Many countries are aware of the Blatchford work on teaching assistants, so it was helpful to be able to discuss the more recent work from the Education Endowment Foundation which sets out positive recommendations, as well as things to avoid, in the light of the Blatchford research. It includes specific recommendations about children with special educational needs.

Prompt for me to get this work more widely disseminated in the UK. I feel a blog coming on.

Mostly we inspect the inside of the hotel we stay in for the meetings, so you’d hardly know it was Amsterdam but, as it’s the 20th anniversary of the European Agency, we are promised something to celebrate the event this evening. Looking forward to it.

Wish you were here,

Philippa