The FIESTA network held its second conference on the 4th of October, in the Casa del Mar, Barcelona, Spain. Hosted by the Catalan partner organization, Pi del Burgar School and supported by the lead partner of the FIESTA network Enable Ireland Disability Services Ltd. The conference focused on the need for inclusive education, integrated working and planned transition for children with additional learning support needs. The conference brought together expert international and national speakers to identify best practice in this area and to promote collaboration between EU agencies to establish a clear protocol on facilitating inclusive education.
Professor Pere Pujolàs, Professor of Education, University of Vic, Spain spoke about schools based on principles of democracy and inclusion and the concept of ‘extraordinary schools’. Other speakers included Professor John Davis, Professor of Childhood Inclusion School of Education, Teaching and Leadership, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Professor Davis showcased the results of the FIESTA best practice report which was informed by 9 EU countries and which set a series of recommendations for school leaders, policy makers, teachers, other out of school agencies, for educational and health professionals, families and children with additional learning needs around transition and inclusion. Professor Davis highlighted the need for a formal transition framework tailor made to the individual needs of the pupil.
The remaining sessions gave examples from specific projects and interventions to support inclusion and universal design for learning (Katerina Riviou, Greece), Inclusion and transition models used in EL Valor, the United States of America (Rey Gonzalez, El Valor, USA) and local experiences of Pi del Burgar School from children with additional educational needs, teachers and parents of children with additional education needs
Other FIESTA partners provided an overview of the FIESTA tools and resources for example the Managing Transition Resource Pack, 3 e-learning modules and the Self-Assessment Tool.
As a unique feature the conference was co-located by another Comenius network entitled ‘UDLnet’ which focuses on universal design for learning. The co-location provided an opportunity for shared best practice and linkage of both networks with a common understanding. FIESTA partners were represented from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania, Scotland, Spain and Finland attended. Delegates from other countries were also present, including Germany, England and the United States. Participants who attended, included teachers, counsellors, parents and researchers.
4 interactive workshops were facilitated which centred on self -assessment tools for schools, universal design for learning best practices, parents perspectives of transition and professional collaboration during transition and inclusion.
The conference programme consisted of 3 sessions and 4 workshops. Presentations and accompanying documentation (to open, click the presentation title) are available for download below:
Session 1 - Presentations
1. FIESTA Overview - Kate Kearney - FIESTA coordinator, Enable Ireland Disability Services Ltd.
2. ‘How to Learn Together - Diversity in the Classroom’ (Catalan version available here) - Dr. Pere Pujolàs, Professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Vic.
Session 2 - Presentations
1. FIESTA Results of the Best Practice Report - Inclusion & Transition - Professor John Davis - Professor of Childhood Inclusion School of Education, Teaching and Leadership, Department of Educational Studies Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
2. Practical Experiences of Transition - Pi del Bulgar, School, Catalonia
- Pupil’s Experience - Mr. Esteve Pino - ‘My transition experience’
- Parent’s Experience - Ms. Aransazu Fonts - ‘Mother of special needs child - difficulties and positive experiences on the process of my child’s transition’
- Teacher’s Experience - Ms. Íngrid Blade. Special Educational Teacher, Pi del Burgar, Catalonia & Ms. Sandra Badia. Teacher, Pi del Burgar, Catalonia ‘Professional perspectives’ (Catalan version available here)
3. Presentation of FIESTA Products - Professor Panayiotis Angelides, Professor of Education, University of Nicosia and Mr Teemu Patala, Director Training & Development, Context Learning Finland
Session 3 - Presentations
1. Universal Design for All – UDLnet - Ms Katerina Riviou, UDLnet Coordinator Ellinogermaniki Agogi School (EA) Athens, Greece
2. Tocar el Futuro / Touch the Future - Mr Rey Gonzalez, CEO and Director of El Valor, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
- Self-Assessment for Teachers – Facilitated by Anestis Papadopoulos, Platon School, Katerini, Greece
- Parents Participation in Transition – Facilitated by John Ravenscroft, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
- Universal Design for Learning in the Classroom – Facilitated by Neil O’Sullivan, Universal Learning Systems, Dublin Ireland & Dr. Gabi Lau, CEFAS, Germany
- Professionals Experiences of Transition – Facilitated by Claire James, Occupational Therapist, Enable Ireland Disability Services, Cork