THE INDIE PROJECT
Inclusion and Diversity in Education (INDIE) is a British Council led project aimed at promoting social cohesion and raising educational standards in culturally inclusive schools. It is run in collaboration with local and regional education authorities from nine EU Member States: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. The words ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ are everywhere nowadays as Europe is becoming increasingly diverse. And where better to start building on our understanding of these terms than in schools? According to research conducted by the British Council in February 2008 across 47 schools in Europe, children find that differences in physical appearance, disability and skin colour are barriers to fitting in at school. They also suggested better induction for migrant children and parents when they start school, and more time to discuss differences in backgrounds and cultures in the classroom. In education, the increase in pupils arriving in schools from new communities is an issue all over Western Europe. One of the major concerns has been the school achievement of learners from these new communities. In the partner countries, inclusion and improving ethnic minority achievement have been affirmed as central goal of education policy. INDIE will build lasting networks which will focus on these common challenges presented by migration and cultural diversity to school education in the participating countries. Uniquely, it brings together pupils, head teachers and policy makers to discuss how inclusion and diversity in schools can best be managed and to implement school based projects which will set best practice standards in the field. School management teams, acting on the European Youth Charter on Inclusion and Diversity in Education, will launch school based projects in the 2008-09 academic year within participating countries. Evaluation of these policies will lead to the publication of shared best practice guidelines for policy makers and school leaders. Throughout the project, the young people involved will be constantly challenged into demonstrating active European citizenship. Charter development and participating in the Brussels conference were just starting points. Ahead lie poetry workshops with Levi Tafari and the launch of an anthology related to their experience, a Visual Arts exhibition and the project will sign off with young leaders organising simultaneous events to mark their identity as Next Generation Europeans. Our success strategy: our simultaneous ‘bottom up & top down’ approach; in dealing with decision makers thus ensuring a real voice for young people and that they have the opportunity to set the agenda.