What’s in it for schools to work with the European Inclusion Compass?​

You want to work actively with social inclusion in your school, but you don’t know where to start….

You know what social inclusion is about but you are looking for ways to work with it in practice…..

You have had discussions in your school about social inclusion, and you have realized that you do not have the same understanding what social inclusion actually means…..

You want to introduce inclusive practices in your school, and you know that engaging the staff is important for success, and you are looking for ways to do this……

You want to get into a better dialogue with parents so that they can play an active role in the school…..

Would you like to find inspiration to all these considerations and others alike? Then the European Inclusion Compass is definitely interesting for you.

All kinds of organizational changes and social innovation processes take time. That is a fact, but processes to change and innovate can have a greater success if you as a manager follow a structured process, engage stakeholders and facilitate the process with well described and well defined tools.

Using the European Inclusion Compass

The European Inclusion Compass, and the supporting Facilitation Toolbox, has been tested within the SPISEY project. In this section you can find a list of top recommendations and of good practice stories that have been gathered and described, based on experiences from the participating pilot schools from Denmark, Finland, France, Spain and the UK. 

Case studies

The case studies presented a range of good practices across different country contexts. The case studies illustrated the instrumental role of school boards (Denmark), the role of leadership and more particularly of distributed leadership (Finland and Denmark), the use of the Inclusion Compass with students (Spain and the UK), the importance of involving a range of professionals (Finland), the use of the Inclusion Compass within a higher education context (UK), links between education and employment (France) – and between the Compass and school interventions (Spain) as well as community projects (France). Brief summaries of each case study organised by country are presented below.  

Case study 1: It can be an insightful experience for a school board like The Youth School board to have to work with the values that are applicable or need to be adjusted. This was experienced by this school board using the Facilitation Toolbox with several interesting and important ‘A-ha’s. The board, consisting of staff and leaders of the school, also found that these overarching debates about the school’s core values were very important and that they were dealt with and implemented too infrequently.

Case study 2: The dialogue in the Preparatory Basic Education (FGU) board revealed two important points. First it became clear, that any leader will end up with problems when partaking in dialogues because any leader is a person with the overall responsibility and hence needs to take a position as an observer to avoid representing ‘the problem’ rather than the solution. Hence, a strong recommendation from this school is to engage an external facilitator. Secondly it turned out, that coming up with groundbreaking new perspectives, on what is considered everyday routine, triggers new and often productive perspectives which could be considered implemented in the school. 


Case study 1: The SPISEY process within the Mäntykangas primary school, that involved both the school manager and teachers looked at 2 different challenges; namely 1) Strengthening of collaborative and inclusive professional attitudes, more discussion and collaboration and 2) Clarifying the practice of multi-professional work at the school. The joint values of child initiated, solution focused, and professionally confident community activities in school was discussed and debated during the Inclusion Compass process and the schools’ new mission as a “child friendly school” is:  “I will – as an adult – notice you and encounter you genuinely. Listen to you and give you my time. Take your opinion in account and give room for your dreams”

Case study 1:

UEC PROSEC is a non-profit association independent of any political or administrative institution dedicated to serving groups at risk of social exclusion, especially the most disadvantaged, and deals with teenagers between the age of 14-16 and young adults between the age of 16-25. The EIC was applied in this organization to work on the development of new inclusion values in the school by promoting the common good, particularly among the young children and adolescents of the Historic Centre of the city of Lleida. The valuable resources and activities of SPISEY Toolbox helped to engage students in key aspects for inclusion. Teachers could work with students through structured activities: a) to reflect about inclusion, teachers and young people together; b) to agree on new inclusive values and actions; and c) to collect and evaluate inclusive actions.  


Case study 2:

Sant Josep de Calassanç school is a primary public school labelled as a high complexity centre and in the SPISEY process the school had the objective to increase students’ individual and collective responsibility as a key value to enhance educational success of all students. The Inclusion Compass helped to rely more on the expertise and previous knowledge of the staff in order to promote new inclusive actions in the school. SPISEY Toolbox helped also to analyze staff strengthens as individuals as well as a group capable to engage all the different school stakeholders in big changes. Three main actions were designed and implemented to increase the engagement of all staff, students and families: 1) To improve communication with families, 2) To promote the value of individual and collective responsibility, and 3) To encourage more active and inclusive practices in the classroom.

Case study 1:

This case study is about how the Inclusion Compass was shared and discussed with over 50 students studying in the university. Inclusion was presented and discussed as both academic and social and especially the latter was described as a skill that was also associated with one’s social capital. The students acknowledged the relevance of the Inclusion Compass to matters of inclusion and they particularly liked the idea of using a ‘compass’ to debate matters of inclusion. They noted that the Inclusion Compass gave an opportunity for students and staff to build a closer relationship and share ideas on inclusion; and, that it provided the context for structured discussions and an opportunity for students to shape the ethos of the institution

Case study 2:

This case study is about how the Inclusion Compass was discussed with 10 academic and professional services staff, many leaders in various roles at the university. The staff talked about inclusion in different ways, but all thought it was an ethical obligation as well as a matter of social justice. Discussion also took place around possible tensions with the pursuit of inclusion and a drive for excellence in elite universities like those amongst the Russell Group. Pilot participants felt that the main components of the model were in place already at the university, but that the model could be useful when identifying gaps in provision. Similarly, another respondent in a new inclusion and culture role related how the Inclusion Compass was similar to the project of change management model that was currently used when planning for inclusion and wellbeing. They also felt that the Inclusion Compass could guide their practice in terms of what communities to involve when planning for inclusion

Case study 1:

Based on the analysis of needs and the meetings held beforehand, it seemed a priority to work in favour of integration, by bringing out oral skills in the students. The team proposed the creation of a course around the internship and the preparation for the future course of the student. A provisional schedule for this: make contact with economic and cultural actors to create easier access to internships for students; working with students on professional sectors to develop young people in their representation of the professional world, one (or more) workshop(s) may be offered; directing and speaking workshop “How should I present myself to look for an internship?’’ Through sessions led by a speaker around theatrical play, students will improve their oral fluency while discovering theatre in practice; project for the future work will be carried out around the link between the acquired experience of the internship and the construction of the project for the future

Case study 2:

Montat Verrerie School is a public elementary school in an industrial area of Saint-Etienne that hosts about 200 students from 3 to 11 years old. It is a high-complexity school with 32 students have diagnosed cognitive disabilities as the student body is extremely diverse with many allophones (students recently arrived in France who do not speak French yet). However, it does not benefit from specific financial support from the state. The school used the EIC to work with two specific challenges. The first one being to create a more welcoming and inclusive image of their school and the second one to create innovative and non-verbal and thus, more inclusive signage that are understandable for all. The application of the EIC helped to organize different creative workshops with school management, teachers and pupils, and the results of the process were a promotional video and new signage in the school yard and designs that stimulate more inclusive leisure activities in the school breaks.

© 2019 SPISEY