About school policy

The Commission works with EU Member States to help develop school education systems. While each Member State is responsible for the organisation and curricula of its education and training institutions and systems, there are advantages in collaborating on issues of shared concern at the EU-level.

EU support for school policy

The Commission supports national efforts in two main ways:

  • It works closely with national policymakers to support them in developing school education policies and systems, including monitoring progress towards targets as part of the European Semester. The Commission gathers and shares information and analyses, and encourages the exchange of policy development and approaches. One way is through the ET2020 Working Groups. Since 2016, the Working Group on Schools has had a broad mandate to develop the governance of school education systems to promote improved quality by enhancing sustainable innovation and inclusion
  • Through the Erasmus+ programme, the Commission provides significant contributions to European cooperation projects promoting mobility for teachers and pupils.

Priority areas

Education ministers from EU Member States have identified the following priority areas:

  • All pupils should develop Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. This can be supported by redesigning curricula and assesssment, providing training for school staff, and enhancing the availability and use of good quality learning tools and resources
  • Each pupil should benefit from high-quality learning experiences and Early Childhood Education and Care should be more widely available
  • Support for learners with special educational needs, including migrants to the EU, must to be improved at school level, and Early School Leaving should be reduced
  • Teachers, school leaders and teacher educators need to receive more support, including continued opportunities for professional development and flexible, attractive career options
  • Quality assurance should be further developed to ensure a more effective, equitable and efficient governance of school education and to facilitate mobility for those undertaking and delivering education and training.

The Commission has established the European Policy Cooperation (ET 2020) framework to foster cooperation in building best practices in the fields of education and training. It also produces regular studies on the situation across Europe to monitor progress regarding the development and reform of education and training systems.

The future of schools policy in the EU

The Commission Communication on School development and excellent teaching for a great start in life provides evidence and proposes actions to improve the quality and inclusiveness of school education, the competences of teachers and school leaders, and school governance. The accompanying Commission Staff Working Document provides evidence in support of the proposals made within the Communication.

In its Communication on Building a stronger Europe: the role of youth, education and culture policies, the Commission has proposed a second package of initiatives highlighting the key role played by education, youth and culture in building the future of Europe.

Furthermore, the Commission Communication on Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture sets out the vision for a European Education Area. It identifies mobility, the mutual recognition of diplomas and study periods abroad, language learning, Early Childhood Education and Care, the teaching profession, and innovation and digital technologies as key areas for EU cooperation in the field of school education.