The ET 2020 Working Group on Schools was launched in February 2016 and runs until June 2018. It builds on the achievements of the 2014-2015 Working Group on Schools. Key messages from the 2014-2015 group can be found in the Highlights from the Working Groups.


The Working Group's mandate is to support Member States in reviewing the governance of school education systems in order to promote higher quality through sustainable innovation and inclusion. This is based on examining the capacity for sustainable systemic change through the following key questions:

  1. How can effective networks (between schools and local, regional, national and international) develop to act as drivers for sustainable innovation?
  2. How can quality assurance systems effectively support school development?
  3. How can teachers and school leaders be motivated and supported through career pathways to develop as professional agents of change?
  4. What conditions and mechanisms are necessary for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and schools to ensure the necessary skills progression of young people in a changing world?

Overarching principles

The work is informed by a set of principles regarding the nature of change in school education (including Early Childhood Education and Care), which highlight the importance of:

  • Building professional communities – supporting the teaching professions to collaborate and develop; enabling them to take ownership of their work with a degree of trust; supporting dialogue between different stakeholders.
  • Taking a learner-centred approach to creating meaningful learning environments – at all levels of decision-making – and focusing on the development of the child, rather than other external driving forces.
  • Developing schools as learning organisations to become contexts for change, which is about continuous improvement.
  • Changing mind-sets to encourage a participatory culture in school education – enabling inclusive decision-making processes.
  • Making well-timed policies as part of focused implementation processes for sustained and renewed change.
  • Improving knowledge sharing, including research, for evidence-informed change.

Key results for policymakers

Following two years of work, the group has produced key policy messages which are illustrated by many country policy examples from across Europe and beyond. These outputs can be accessed by clicking on the titles below:

Main report: European ideas for better learning: the governance of school education systems

Thematic reports

Meetings and workshops

Meetings take place every 3 months in Brussels and last two days. 'Peer learning activities' (3-4 day workshops) are organised on a focus topic linked to one of the key questions and take place in host countries.  Both of these types of events give the members a chance to discuss common challenges, share examples of good practice, and reflect on possible future action.

Peer Learning Activities 2016-2018

October 2016, Tallinn, Estonia - Quality assurance for school development

February 2017, Lisbon, Portugal - Continuity and transitions in learner development

May 2017, Leuven, Belgium - Teachers and schools leaders in schools as learning organisations

September 2017, Belgrade, Serbia - Management of networks and resources


The members of the Working Group are:

  • Experts from national administrations – most of them from national education ministries – from EU Member States, candidate countries, and EFTA countries;
  • Key European stakeholder representatives, social partners (business and trade unions) and civil society organisations working in education.