This Project, funded by Open Society Foundation, had the goal of setting up an independent legal entity for Sirius Network in order to contribute more effectively to the social inclusion of the young generation of immigrant families by promoting their effective access to the universal right to education. The Network became an international non-profit making association (“Association internationale sans but lucratif”) governed by the Belgian law of June 27th, 1921, on March 16th 2017.
SIRIUS concentrates on promoting inclusive policymaking and reform at national level by generating evidence and mutual learning at national and European level and by organising platforms for debate at national level.
To do so, SIRIUS focuses on the following activities:
- Communication: between members and external stakeholders with the help of newsletters, updated website and dissemination of SIRIUS outputs.
- Policy input: SIRIUS aims to promote innovative and effective migrant education policies through the European institutions, major national and European-wide events and through European-wide statements targeting national and local stakeholders. SIRIUS became a member of EU Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning, contribute on ad hoc basis to major EU/European-wide guidance, tools and publications. This participation allows SIRIUS to advise high-level authorities and stakeholders and disseminate its agenda and recommendations, innovative ideas and the most effective practices. SIRIUS’ approach promotes inclusive policymaking by using multi-stakeholder recommendations and providing evidence from practitioners and grassroots organisations.
- Develop strategic projects to identify and transfer best practice: SIRIUS members brainstorm every year what are the issues and related activities that are most needed to meet the major and upcoming needs for migrant pupils in their country. Since the end of the 2014 structural grant, SIRIUS members translated the SIRIUS agenda/recommendations into a series of projects now led by different SIRIUS members and usually funded by Erasmus+ and co-funded by other donors.
- Work with different types of stakeholders: SIRIUS continues engaging various stakeholders into its national (thematic discussions, national round tables) and international (expert and policy workshops) activities to promote collaborative dialogue on inclusive and equitable education policies. In addition, SIRIUS aims to ensure representation of each type of the stakeholder (research organisation, policy maker, immigrant youth and communities) among its members, facilitating networking and multi-stakeholder cooperation at the national level and increasing flexibility and immediate availability of relevant expertise and knowledge at the regional and European levels.
SIRIUS holds an Annual SIRIUS policy Conference (spring) gathering all members and other partnerships and 2 annual policy thematic workshops (autumn and winter). In addition, Sirius prepares Policy Briefs based on the conference and workshop conclusions and provides specific policy recommendations with a focus on innovation and identification/transfer of best practice. National Advocacy Events are also foreseen on the ad hoc basis based on the policy brief and the learning.
SIRIUS General Assembly:
On April 5th 2017, SIRIUS members met in Brussels for its annual gathering.
Sirius’s President of the Board, Thomas Huddleston, opened the General Assembly highlighting the fact it was a historic General Assembly; the first one as SIRIUS as a legal entity. During the assembly, many subjects were discussed with the members and new members also joined the Network. SIRIUS counts now 31 members in 18 countries.
New Members are:
- New Community Partnership (NPC): Ireland;
- Fryshuset: Sweden;
- University of Lapland: Finland;
- Educational Research Institute: Slovenia;
- High Commission for Migration: Portugal;
- Forum for Freedom in Education is Education: Croatia
The Work Plan for Sirius network activities and respective Budget for 2017 were presented and approved by the assembly.
The draft of the “Rules of Procedures” for Sirius network activities was also presented and approved. The main goal of the document is to establish clear rules on the functioning of Sirius as a legal entity.
Members took equally the floor and proposed additional activities/ideas for workshops.
Read the Minute to know more what was discussed during our General Assembly!
Meeting of the EU school policy networks on the review of the Key Competences Framework:
On April 4th and 5th, the European Commission organized a meeting in Brussels on the review of the Key Competences Framework for which all SIRIUS members were invited.
The meeting focused on the review of the Key Competences Framework, its strengths and shortcomings in view of the shifting educational and social landscape in Europe. The European Framework of Key Competences was announced in the New Agenda for Europe in June 2016 and it aims to ensure that the European Framework of Key Competences reflects well political, social, economic, ecological and technological developments since its adoption in 2006. By updating and developing the Framework the Commission intends to further promote competence-based teaching and learning across Europe.
The event was very successful and Sirius members had the opportunity of sharing their thoughts on the KCF and contribute with their suggestions/recommendations for the revision of the KCF.
During the event, Sirius members also participated in the Workshop on “The Key Competences Framework Facing Diversity – How inclusive is the Framework?” organized and moderated by Ana-Maria Stan, from the European Commission (DG EAC) and Sirius Chairman, Thomas Huddleston. This specific workshop had the goal of discussing the Key Competences Framework in relation to diversity and what could/should be done in order for the Framework to be the most inclusive possible.
Joint Sirius & Erasmus + project NAOS End Conference
On June 21st it took place the Joint Conference SIRIUS & Erasmus + project NAOS at the Erasmus University Rotterdam to present the main findings of NAOS project. The conference was very successful with more than 100 participants and many interesting workshops with final results of the project.
The aim of the meeting was to inspire all participants to reflect on how best to support teachers in diverse classroom in Europe.
General objectives of the project were to look and analyse how European teachers in primary and secondary education prepare for diversity; strengthen professional capacity in partner countries and their schools; increase educational attainment/reduce drop out among migrant children. The project focused on five content areas of expertise: language diversity, pedagogy/didactics, social psychology and identity, parental involvement and community-schools relationships.
The goal of this Erasmus+ strategic partnership was to strengthen professional capacity in the partner countries: Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Norway, Lithuania and Portugal. Many SIRIUS members were partners of this project.
Preliminary general observations that arose from the project were that in many cases there was a clear commitment to diversity in schools visited during the project; diversity is not seen as a problem but as an asset. In some cases, however, diversity was not the heading but schools put emphasis on educational quality, personalized learning and resilience.
On professional development, in one half of the schools visited, teachers learn how to deal with diversity by doing, they are committed to work extra hours to help students; on the other half, there is a clear professional development plan that varied from stand alone courses to peer learning to integral programmes and collaboration with other schools.
Overall recommendations of the project findings are: 1/ concerning teacher training, Curriculum reforms are needed and 2/ on the professional development side, it is important to support the move from learning by doing to integral and evidence based professional development.
Full final results of the project will be released at the end of summer. We will keep you informed. Stay tuned!
You can read more on NAOS project here.
SIRIUS members present at the Conference took this opportunity to gather for an internal meeting of the Network to discuss on the newly EC approved project, the Network activities, future meetings and other issues regarding the Network. SIRIUS is preparing many exciting activities for the coming months.