In their Council conclusions of November 2017, EU education ministers highlighted the need for contemporary approaches to teaching, learning and the governance of school education systems in order help schools to respond to the changing educational demands of learners, society and the labour market.

The ET2020 Working Group Schools (2016-18) with representatives from European education ministries and stakeholder organisations, was given the mandate to develop ideas and share policy and practices from EU countries that help them tackle challenges in school education by promoting higher quality through sustainable innovation and inclusion.

This work aims to support Member States in increasing the capacity of school education for systemic and sustainable change. It sets out a vision for school education systems that can help define shared values within a European Education Area.


The peer learning process underpinning this work makes it relevant to all countries and adaptable by all education systems, whilst recognising their diversity and high complexity.

The work focused on four key areas of governance (see box below), setting out guiding principles for policy development within a context of recent research and changing environments for school  education. These are further illustrated with specific examples from countries, in order to critically reflect on how different approaches have been put into practice, and with what results.

Four thematic reports:

1. Quality assurance for school development: ways of improving interplay between mechanisms that are both external and internal to schools


2. Continuity and transitions in learner development: ways to ensure learning pathways are sufficiently flexible and the conditions for provide appropriate guidance and support


3. Teachers and school leaders in schools as learning organisations: policies that promote and support teacher collaboration, autonomy, and distributed leadership within   professional learning communities
4. Networks for learning and development across school education systems: a deeper understanding of the purpose and nature of networks for innovation and implementation, and participation of multi-level stakeholders



Find out more and read the thematic reports by clicking on each title (left)


The results of the ET2020 Working Group on Schools are summarised in a final report on the governance of school education (click to download).

 They were discussed and used for future action planning at the conference. Further information on the conference proceedings, including the workshops, is available on the ‘Resources’ page.