A new MPI Europe and the SIRIUS Policy Network Policy Brief "Developing School Capacity for Diversity"

Research shows that school quality has a greater impact on the education outcomes of migrant children compared to peers of higher socioeconomic status or ethnic majority background. Thus any comprehensive strategy to improve the educational position of migrant children in European schools must work to improve the quality of the schools themselves. 

School quality, or professional capacity, encompasses the capacity of teachers, administrators, and other staff. It can be measured by examining the content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and interpersonal skills of instructors; the level of responsibility administrators give teachers; and whether all staffers work together in a cohesive, professional learning community. Schools with these communities, in which teachers work continuously to improve their teaching practices and learn from their colleagues, are more effective in encouraging student achievement in disadvantaged areas than are schools where teachers do little to reflect on their practices. 

A new policy brief published by MPI Europe and the SIRIUS Policy Network on the education of children and youngsters with a migrant background,Developing school capacity for diversity, uses the concept of professional capacity to frame SIRIUS’s recommendations regarding school quality. The brief, by Sabine Severiens, identifies four key areas for improvement: language diversity, the learning environment, social psychology and acculturation, and community connections. 

To develop expertise in these areas, the brief outlines three strategies for policymakers: build professional learning communities that focus on diversity, build networks of expertise on diversity, and develop teacher training programs dedicated to diversity. 

This is the third in a series of six policy briefs prepared by MPI Europe for the SIRIUS Network, which is co-financed by the European Union. Later this week, we will publish a brief examining language support policies. You can read the series at www.mpieurope.org, as well as learn more about the SIRIUS Nework at www.sirius-migrationeducation.org

See: http://migrationpolicy.org/research/developing-school-capacity-diversity