OECD and CES collaboration on school community engagement

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In October the OECD launched a report entitled ‘Roadmap for scaling up local school community engagement to inform education policy making in Ireland.’ This draws significantly on findings and recommendations from an evaluation of school community engagement, carried out by CES from May 2022 to April 2023.

The OECD report proposes a model and roadmap for exploring the potential of school community engagement to further support policymaking across the Irish education system.  

CES was commissioned to evaluate different engagement models applied at a series of pilot events, designed and facilitated by the Burren College of Art (BCA). These events aimed to ‘facilitate and enhance the capacity of local school communities to have inclusive conversations on issues of common interest, make sense of national policies in their context and turn their shared understanding into agreed actions’.  

CES undertook an independent assessment of the pilot event programme to determine what would be required for the models to be effective, how the models could be scaled up, embedded and sustained and what attendees’ experiences were of the pilot in action. CES used a mixed-methods approach to gather data from pilot participants and a range of other stakeholders.

The assessment found that participants appreciated having access to an inclusive space to express their opinion about education issues and recognised the benefits and opportunities of the school community engagement model. It also identified a range of things which could ensure the effectiveness of the models, including sufficient planning time, involvement of key supporting bodies and participation of the whole school community. Greater clarity around the mechanisms which could enable the outcomes of engagement events to influence local and national policy was also proposed.

The OECD noted that CES’ role was “instrumental in shaping the model” for school community engagement in Ireland.

CES CEO Inez Bailey says, “We were delighted to provide our expertise to the OECD and that the findings of our work will create the foundation for further development of school community engagement.”

You can read the OECD report here

To find out more about CES evaluations click here

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