An INSCHOOL Study visit of teachers from Slovak Republic to the United Kingdom took place on 26 and 27 June 2019. 10 teachers from the INSCHOOL selected schools from Hlohovec, Žilina, Spišský Štvrtok, Liptovská Teplička and Budimír together with the INSCHOOL Educational Advisor from Slovak Republic, Ms Jarmila Lajcakova, were guided and accompanied by the INSCHOOL Educational Advisor in United Kingdom, Mr Mark Penfold acting as lead teacher for Ethnic Minority Achievement at the Babington Academy. The study visit consisted of one full day of lesson observations (English, Maths, Science, Humanities) and a tour of the Bemrose school (Derby), as well as a half-day visit in Babington Academy (Leicester) focusing on Roma engagement within the school, lesson observations and a presentation by a Roma pupil on the visit to Auschwitz - organised as an activity within the INSCHOOL project, co-funded by the school.
During the two days teachers had the opportunity to discuss, exchange experiences, meet Roma pupils in Bemrose school and Babington Academy but also the school principals – activities that proved to be inspiring for the teachers who were left with positive impressions. Among the key messages:
- Roma children studying in Bemrose School and Babington Academy have a range of ambitions for their careers after education such as to become primary teachers, pre-school teachers, engineers, police officers, lawyers, psychologists, plumbers, care workers;
- They know what examinations grades they need to obtain to qualify for their chosen career/profession and have already obtained them or are on track to do so;
- Engaging parents was a key factor in the success of both schools;
- The teachers in both schools had high expectations of Roma pupils;
- UK schools invested in developing systems for monitoring and encouraging attendance;
- UK schools do not keep pupils back a year (backclassing);
One of the teachers from the Slovak INSCHOOLs was impressed with the consistency with which Babington Academy ensures school attendance and deals with prevention of bullying. She mentioned: “ I will propose to my colleagues how to actively address the problem with school attendance. I will propose how to use school premises outside the class to support motivation of children, drawing their attention to the importance of their mutual cooperation, respect of needs of others”.
The strongest impression from the visit was the friendliness and cooperation among children and it was acknowledged that “this (i.e. inclusive education) can be achieved only through consistency and cooperation".