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Supporting Access to Learning Worldwide


“Education is not a preparation for life, education is life itself.”


American Educationalist, John Dewey


Foreword Issue 13 of ENGAGE tackles head on the fundamental factors that need addressing to enable increased access to education and bring about the needed global shift in educational opportunities for all. Articles from a variety of perspectives show how key is the importance of understanding and removing the barriers created by poverty, gender inequality, disability and political intransigence. The Foundation will do all it can to support the campaign for global universal education to be an entitlement. Governments have to be regularly strongly challenged and supported to do everything possible to break down these barriers. They will also need to be pressed to make new commitments that systematically address the issues that are holding back opportunities for education for all. Over the seven years since the Foundation was established, we have secured an ever broadening range of supporters and funding for our projects. But still the core of our support is of the generosity of individuals, of the UK National Union of Teachers and its Associations and Divisions and of other unions nationally and internationally. The Directors of the Foundation are most appreciative of this vital support as the Foundation enters and anticipates an exciting eighth year of its existence.

Jerry Glazier Chair, The Steve Sinnott Foundation

This magazine could not be published without its designers and printers at Paragraphics and at Ruskin Press. Their expertise and patience is extraordinary. They do not just do the business for us, they are friends of the Foundation and supporters of our work. Ongoing thanks to them. Front page: Sierra Leone Teachers and educators in London for stage one of a Foundation teacher development programme. More on the News pages. To comment on this article, email



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IT’S A FINEPOINT Professor Gus John tackles the child earner and learner dilemma and rejects compulsion and fines Making education accessible and ensuring that all children of school age access education has long been the preoccupation of governments, especially in the developing world. It was the springboard of the Millennium Development Goal targets relating particularly to education and youth. The Rt Hon Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, noted that progress made against the targets set by the MDGs using 1990 data as a base line included: ‘nine out of ten children in developing countries are now enrolled in primary schooling (net enrolment rate), with roughly equal numbers of boys and girls’. But, she also noted that amidst widening inequalities in the majority of the world’s countries: ‘in some developing regions, children in towns and cities are up to thirty per cent more likely to complete primary school than are those in rural areas’ (2015 Commonwealth Lecture, London) One of the more contentious issues nations faced in pursuing the MDGs and continue to confront in setting their own sustainable development goals is that of making education accessible for children who are both learners and earners rather than problematising the latter. Research I conducted in Cameroon, Nigeria and Somaliland on barriers to meeting the MDGs suggested that children as earners who were not accessing available education were a key target of national governments. In most countries, however, policies that flow from the UN Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child seldom deal with the reality of children in the labour market. Critiquing those approaches, a body of academics have argued that many such policies ‘stem from fictions about the existence of a single, universal type of childhood. Additionally, they embody an understanding of life course which delineates children’s work from their social, political, and other structural determinants, as well as the role of work in the lives of children and their families... As working children’s groups in Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Burkina Faso, India and elsewhere have made clear, their participation in a range of jobs, including many of those prohibited by policy makers, is often integral to their attempts to access education, livelihoods, and development plans as well as their socio-economic and citizenship participation in the broadest sense’(Open letter:A better approach to child work – open-letter-better-approach-to-child-work) It is presumably to uphold children’s right to education and underscore the role of education in human liberation, economic empowerment and nation building that the government of Tanzania recently declared its intention to ‘punish parents who fail to ensure their children go to school’ on the introduction of free basic education for all Tanzanian children from January 2016. According to a recent report from the Thomas Reuters Foundation,

George Masaju, Tanzania’s attorney general, warned that parents deemed to be holding back efforts to create a literate society by keeping children out of school would face punishment. “Causing a child to drop from school for any reason is a criminal offense because you offend his fundamental right of being educated,” Masaju said late last month at a graduation ceremony at Feza School in Dar es Salaam. My research found that teachers who were poorly and irregularly paid themselves were often buying books and providing snacks for children who would otherwise go without food throughout the school day and then walk home hungry afterwards. In addition to parents depending on the economic activity of children to make ends meet, many parents had difficulty providing money for travel to and from school and crucially, providing sanitary accessories for pubescent girls. Crucially, even though parents were fully persuaded about the role of schooling and education in personal development, combating poverty and in social transformation, they considered that the right to food and shelter trumped the fundamental right to education. Against that background, imposing fines upon parents for not ensuring that children attend school, as Tanzania proposes, without addressing the economic reasons for using children as earners may well compound the problem of poverty by making already poor families even worse off. It is surely counter intuitive to cut off a crucial source of income, i.e., children’s contribution to earnings directly or indirectly, while simultaneously expecting parents and families to find money to pay fines, whatever the consequences might be for not paying such fines. Professor Gus John is an international consultant, Director of All Africa Advisors Limited and Associate Professor at the University College London Institute of Education



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PUTTING THE PROMISE INTO ACTION International Development Minister, Nick Hurd sets out the UK Government's commitment and action for Education for All. Across the world education acts as a ladder; as an escape route out of poverty. Yet right now over 50 million children of primary school age have no school to go to. They are being denied the chance to build a better future for themselves. These are some of the most marginalised, most hard to reach children on the planet. Getting them into school will not be easy. But what sets the 17 new UN Global Goals apart from their predecessors is the promise to leave no one behind, to ensure that no one is left out of our efforts to end extreme poverty. My Department is putting this promise into action. We are committed to ensuring all children are able to complete a full cycle of quality education. Over the last five years the UK has helped 11 million children to go to school and trained more than 177,000 teachers in the world’s poorest countries. Our flagship Girls’ Education Challenge will also enable as much as one million more of the world’s poorest girls to benefit from an education of sufficient quality to allow them to gain skills, find a job and transform their lives. One area we have particularly focused on is fragile and conflict affected states, where we know that girls and children with disabilities are more likely to be denied an education. The UK played an instrumental role in the creation of the No Lost Generation Initiative (NLGI), which is providing protection, psycho-social support and education for hundreds of thousands of children affected by the Syria crisis. One of the biggest barriers to getting an education is disability. Children with disabilities can be denied access to education because of the discriminatory attitudes of their parents, school teachers or fellow pupils, or inaccessible classrooms, sanitation facilities or a lack of learning materials suitable for them. That is why International Development Secretary Justine Greening launched our Disability Framework in December last year. This framework means that every single school built with funding from the Department for International Development is accessible for children with disabilities. It also means that the UK will work to improve data on disability. One of the key factors holding back our efforts to improve the lives of disabled people around the world is that we don’t have reliable data. We are working hard to ensure every child has the chance to get a quality education. But we can’t do this alone. We need donors,



developing country governments, civil society and communities themselves to get on board. All children should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential regardless of where they are born. We need to continue to build momentum and awareness around accessible education, disability and development. By working together I believe we can turn the Global Goals’ promise to leave no one behind into a reality. International Development Minister Nick Hurd

A HEIGHTENING GLOBAL CRISIS UK shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Labour’s Diane Abbott challenges the UK Government’s approach to the emerging stark challenges

is quickly rising. 1,600 unaccompanied children were registered by child protection agencies in France alone in 2015, although the true figure is certainly greater because most unaccompanied minors avoid the authorities.

The inclusion of “inclusive and equitable education” as one the 17 Global Goals indicates the growing recognition that education is one of the best vehicles to achieve genuine, sustainable, international development.

Faced with this global situation, the Department for International Development in Britain must develop a holistic approach to international development with sustainability, including the goal of accessible education and a clear commitment to reducing inequality, at its core. Unfortunately, two trends in the current Government’s approach to international development contradict this. One is a seemingly ideologically-driven preference to using the private sector to deliver what we would normally see as public services. Another is the increasing subordination of their aid agenda and allocation to the priorities of British foreign policy rather than the needs of the people of the developing world.

If the goals are met, by 2030 all girls and boys should complete free primary and secondary schooling, with equal access to affordable vocational training, and in turn gender and wealth disparities should be eliminated with the aim of achieving universal access to a quality higher education. Just as education must be a key enabler for sustainable development, other aspects of the sustainable development agenda must be an integral element of quality education worldwide, including the need for gender and other forms of equality in the field of education and beyond. The Millennium Development Goal on universal primary education helped ensure the progress we’ve seen since 2000. Yet even in areas where progress has been made, there are also disparities which can only be tackled by addressing the heightening global inequality crisis. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, children living in the poorest households are four times more likely to be out of school than their contemporaries from the richest households.

In contrast, a genuine international development budget would prioritise sustainable economic development and help to tackle the crises that prevent it, such as the refugee crisis. It would benefit the rest of the world and thereby also boost British prosperity. A lot has been achieved in terms of accessible education in international development, but there’s certainly a lot more to do.

There are many emerging stark challenges across the world, which may become even greater challenges as we approach 2030. In particular, different international emergencies, whether the continued armed conflict in areas of the Middle East, Western Asia and North Africa, or the ongoing and horrendous refugee crisis, both have seen an increase in the proportion of children out of school. The specific effects on children of the current refugee crisis must be recognised. I recently met with European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis, Commissioner Christos Stylianides, and fully support his department’s efforts to ensure that education is provided as a basic right in a humanitarian crisis. UNICEF reports that in Lebanon, Syrian refugee children as young as 10 are victims of bonded agricultural labour, and that thousands more children no longer have access to education of any kind. These issues have also come to Europe with the refugee camps across the continent, including those I have visited in Calais and Lesbos. The number of children – including unaccompanied children in these camps

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INCLUSIVE EDUCATION IS THE ONLY WAY Disability equality rights campaigner Richard Rieser makes the case for inclusion as the only way to ensure accessible education for all children with disabilities I write as a disabled person and educationalist, struggling for inclusive education for the last thirty years. Accessible education means to me a system which welcomes all children into the mainstream or regular school, regardless of their type or degree of impairment; all teachers receive training throughout their careers to accommodate disabled children’s needs, include them academically and socially; sufficient additional resources go to the school and the child to provide accessible environments and curriculum. Historically, in education systems around the world, starting with the developed North, spreading to the developing South, the focus has been on impairment-loss of physical or mental function. This has led to a medical or deficit approach, characterised by Special Education. The problem is viewed as in the child. As a result they are either not in school, up to 90% in the South, or segregated in special schools or classes where the aspirations

can be low with poor outcomes, leading to massive disengagement. Alternatively they are accepted into mainstream classes, but the environment, teaching, curriculum, assessment, attitudes and social relationships remain largely unchanged. This is integration, not accessible education. Most disabled children do not achieve their potential, drop out or fail, leading to some parents wanting special schools. In the last forty years, parents, disabled people and their rights’ based organisations (NGOs and DPOs) have fought for full inclusion. Various international treaties have adopted these views. In this Social Model/ human rights’ approach it is the barriers of environment, attitudes and organisation which prevent those with long term impairments from achieving their potential. This paradigm shift from a Medical to a Social Model of disability is at the heart of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), now ratified by 161 countries. Article 24 and the draft interpretive declaration from the CRPD Committee make clear this means having an inclusive education system, schools and classes. It makes clear

separate schools, units or classes for disabled children are not inclusive education. This transformation is not easy but a continual process of addressing barriers and developing practice. In the North, only the State of New Brunswick in Canada and Italy have all disabled children in mainstream schools. New Brunswick has made it the responsibility of all mainstream teachers. In Italy they provide additional specialist support teachers, 1 for every 2 children. Such resource intensive approaches are beyond the reach of most countries. Many South countries are now developing a more inclusive approach for children with disabilities. Brazil has developed resource rooms in more than 40,000 schools, with Braille, sign language, curriculum resources and facilities to access the curriculum for those with learning difficulties. In Montenegro a 5 year effective advertising and action campaign has changed public attitudes about inclusion, from 30% wanting disabled children in their child’s class to 79%. In India, Sarv Sikhsha Abhiyan has led to the acceptance of physical access guidance for all schools with training for in service teachers across the country, though children with more significant impairments are still home educated. In Tanzania, ADD with the government has been running a highly successful inclusion programme in over 400 schools to be brought to scale in the next few years. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015-2030, include children with disabilities, unlike their predecessors the Millennium Development Goals. Too often governments rely on NGOs to run small inclusion projects. These have proved it can be successfully done. Now governments have to take responsibility for implementing inclusive education in every school. All children have the right to learn and play together, not separated by difference. Richard Rieser is the Managing Director of disability in education consultancy World of Inclusion Limited (



WE ‘DO’ INCLUSIVE EDUCATION, DON’T WE? Malcolm Richards dissects the concepts of ‘inclusion’ and ‘accessibility’ for their real meaning, the difference they make and the duty of governments. We pride ourselves on our ability to deliver inclusive and accessible education. Our National Teacher Standards require us to demonstrate “value and promote social and cultural diversity, equality of opportunity and inclusion.” Educators like myself are responsible for implementing this through quality teaching, differentiated resources and activities. Our line managers and (sometimes) the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) review it. So is the education we offer in the UK inclusive? And what do we me mean by inclusive education, anyway? A quick Google UK search for ‘inclusive education’ refers mainly to children with special educational or additional needs. Add ‘government’ to the search criteria and terms like ‘statutory guidance’ and SEN frameworks pop up. This suggests that in reality mainstream education and Government consider inclusive education solely a special needs issue and not doing all it can do to ‘promote social and cultural diversity and equality of opportunity’. Key objectives of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (2000) included “halving the proportion who suffer from hunger”, “promoting gender equality and empowering women”, as well as “achieving universal primary education” by 2015. Statistics produced by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that developed countries like the United Kingdom have achieved much of this, consistently improving the quality of education by following Global Education Reform Movement (GERM). Yet, it is well

reported in the United Kingdom media that with the increased need for food banks and charitable assistance more and more students are going to school hungry. So what do we really mean by inclusion? In 1989, Kimberle Crenshaw, an AfricanAmerican academic, coined the term “intersectionality”. Originally used to describe African-American women, Crenshaw describes intersectionality as “an analytic sensibility, a way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power.” Intersectionality takes into account the many factors that make up a person’s environment – economic, sociopolitical, religious, sexual, racial, gender and location – and how these might increase discrimination. This theory is increasingly being applied to a wider cross section of society by academics, educators, political commentators and bloggers, the Black Lives Matters social media campaign a recent example. I describe myself as working specifically with young people who through the intersectionality of disadvantage find themselves excluded from conventional education settings. I suggest that if we place intersectionality at the centre of “the inclusion question” we cut to the heart of the matter viewing disadvantage in relation to identity and power. We can then begin to tackle many of the barriers of inclusion. In the UK our government is responsible for making education accessible and beneficial for all children. It is paramount that inclusion policies and systems administered by government become more than a soundbite, making a real difference to the lives of the young people they aim to include with accurate and measurable outcomes. While waiting for this to happen, how can we

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begin to improve outcomes for our students by being more inclusive? Begin a discussion group asking young people for their views on inclusion. If our young people arrive to school hungry, we must start a breakfast club to feed them. If they arrive without the proper equipment, don’t sanction them further – give them a pen. Send a tweet, write an article, join a union, begin campaigning on inclusion reform. Malcolm Richards is a senior leader within mainstream and community education, with a particular focus on inclusion and additional educational needs education.



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FREE, RELEVANT AND EMPOWERING For Education International Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst, these are the essentials of accessible education and, she says, we are all in this together because no country has yet managed to make education truly accessible to all. Education is an enabling right insofar as exercising the right to education makes it possible for individuals to understand more about other rights: how to exercise them, as well as how to advocate for their fulfilment and protection. Consequently, ensuring the right to education for all is a pre-requisite to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. For many people, securing the right to education is synonymous with ensuring education is accessible to all. But what is ‘accessible education’? I would say it is an education which is free, relevant and empowering. It is not just about making sure that every child can physically get into a school; it is about what happens when they get there. It must be an education of quality. For the last two years, Education International (EI) has been leading the Unite for Quality Education Campaign. It is a campaign that calls on governments, policy makers, educators, activists, students and parents to unite and collectively advocate for quality teaching, quality teaching and learning tools, and quality teaching and learning environments. We consider these to be the central tenets of quality education. And in my mind, accessible education is all of those things individually, and collectively. Every student must have the necessary tools and materials with which to learn. They need quality learning materials which challenge stereotypes of all kinds (such as those based on gender, class, race, ethnicity or any other marker of differentiation), and they should have materials which , as much as possible, reflect the diverse backgrounds and life experiences of the learners who use them. Evidence shows that second only to the efforts of students themselves, educators are the most important factor in ensuring positive learning outcomes. So, accessible education implies the provision of quality teachers: who must receive high standard initial education and training, have access to continuous professional development, and be wellsupported with fair and equitable working conditions, including remuneration that is commensurate with the status and importance of the work that they do. Teachers do no less than prepare the leaders of the future; the caretakers of this planet we call home. No matter the student, or the profession in which they eventually excel, it all starts with a good teacher. Finally, it goes without saying that for education to be universally accessible, teaching and learning must occur in quality environments



which are safe, healthy and promote learning. This also means that students, educators and schools must be free from attack: they must be safe from intentional threats or use of force that is carried out for political, military, ideological, ethnic, religious or criminal reasons. Every effort must be made to eradicate the different types of violence that occur all too frequently in and around educational settings. I come from Norway, and it may seem, that my reflections here are aimed at countries in the global south. This is far from the case: I can say without hesitation that we are all in this together: no country has yet managed to make education truly accessible to all in the terms I have mentioned here. Recently, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report in Canada reminded us of the shortcomings in providing accessible education to indigenous children, and at the moment many countries are struggling with the task of ensuring accessible education for refugee children. We all need to step-up to the challenges. The adoption of the new sustainable development agenda provides us with a new opportunity: for our governments and policy-makers at all levels to take the leap from political rhetoric to action backed by political will and commitment, and for us to increase our efforts as activists. It is going to take the global village to make sure that the right to education is fulfilled for each and every human being by 2030…and beyond.

EDUCATION IS LIFE ITSELF Goldsmiths, University of London student Chira Patel tells her personal story of accessing education and all that it means to her now

Is accessible education a measure of meritocracy seen as being valued on the basis of what you have done? Indeed, if I were to critique the US working ethic; ‘Hard work – equals success’, would I be separating the deserving and the non-deserving? I wish to challenge a neoliberalist paradigm and set my sights beyond the structural inequalities that are presented in my everyday life. Through the lens of Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of cultural capital, my access to UK education has grappled with and between who I know, what I know and what I have. There are many widely accepted factors that prevent education from being meritocratic, be it schools’ resources, the ability to attract quality teachers, or support from parents, and particularly in relation to low-income families like mine. Today, I continue to challenge the somewhat fatalistic negativity of accessible education.

1979 Play time, painting and teachers telling me what to do are my memories of primary education. In retrospect, my primary school education built the foundations for my future educational capital, but how is it that I wasn’t aware of the importance of these years; that my education would be the dominant, measurable and recognisable component that would influence whether I went on to further education, what profession I entered, how much I was paid – the very future of my success.

1994 A ‘proper’ or ‘accepted’ level of educational success consisted of GCSEs, A Levels and university degrees. At a time when higher education in the UK consisted of newly amalgamated polytechnics into universities, the number of people achieving degrees was growing and education was becoming accessible for socio-economically disadvantaged students through educational policies designed to widen higher education participation. Nevertheless, leaving school with limited exam grades did not meet the expected levels of educational attainment to enter an undergraduate degree. Was this a meritocracy – did I fail to achieve because I wasn’t clever, because I didn’t try hard enough, or I didn’t apply myself? No. Fatalistically, ‘life’ got in the way.


1986 On reflection, my educational path was controlled by others; be it my parents; the instructional practices in the classroom that led to my performance, or the hard-wired UK educational system. At age 11, making the decision about what secondary school I attended was like blowing out candles on my birthday – a fleeting wish that I could not control. The third daughter of Indian immigrants who spoke little English, we lived on a council estate and suffered the burden of high levels of economic and social deprivation. My family’s transcultural capital bore me to the same inner city comprehensive school my siblings attended just a short walk away. They knew no-one who could assist in an alternative choice, knew nothing of the educational system and had no means to purchase an alternative education. I felt powerless – fate had the upper hand in my education through a myriad of uncontrollable intricacies, from location, age, and the linguistic ability of my parents, to political party politics and educational policy. In my view, secondary education was following the footsteps of my siblings, my individuality, and my merit, blurred by the continuous lack of access to knowledge, which obstructed what I knew and what I did not know. To comment on this article, email

Following twenty years in the world of ‘hard work’ where I had a professional career, the notion of a degree education still held strong in the eyes of ‘others’ as a measure of ability, judgement and mental agility. I had a successful career, however I needed to go back to education and be a success. This time around it is different; I am in control. At age 41 I am accessing and opening doors to re-position myself in this notion of cultural capital. My biggest concern is the financial accessibility of my education. I feel financial fear daily and the affordability of my education will always be a ubiquitous anxiety. I enter a different scenario; education comes at a cost and something to be invested in. To end, accessible education is not always homogenous in one’s life, the paradoxical landscape brings virtuous moments and unreachable chances. However today, I recognise accessible education as an occurrence which shapes, shifts and transforms experiences of knowledge and learning. So for me, in agreement with the words of John Dewey, ‘[accessible] education is not a preparation for life, education is life itself’.



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BRINGING DOWN THE BARRIERS Duncan Little describes his work helping teachers to gain a clearer understanding of learner-friendly, participatory approaches to make education more accessible. experience of inclusive teaching and learning methodologies during either their pre-service training or subsequent in-service training. ‘Chalk and talk’, the lecture approach which allows for only one type of learning style, dominates both teacher training and classroom practice in many countries, resulting in large numbers of children not fully accessing, participating in, or benefiting from education.

Hands-on support As a teacher in London, and also an international inclusive education trainer, my work focuses on supporting children’s inclusion to education, especially those who are marginalised and excluded due to their circumstances and discrimination. I encourage education practitioners and stakeholders to use creative and innovative inclusive approaches to ensure that all children are: • present in school • participate in academic and social activities • achieve to the best of their ability.

‘The medium is the message’ The successful development of inclusive education requires substantial rethinking and reorientation of teacher education in most countries. Too often teachers are told to be inclusive, whilst being trained through fundamentally non-inclusive, non-participatory methods! Yet teacher education and ongoing development is most effective when the training reflects the practice expected of teachers in the classroom. Thus, when training I provide trainees with direct experience of interactive learning (group-work, pair-work, carousel reporting back, etc). This helps encourage a deeper understanding of learnerfriendly, participatory inclusive practices, so that the trainees are experiencing the kind of inclusive education they should create in their own schools and classrooms. In many countries, teachers are offered no practical



EENET offers consultancy support to NGOs and UN agencies globally. Services cover a range of activities from research and baseline studies (including inclusive education policy analysis), through to project, policy and strategy design, evaluations and also training design and delivery. Presently I’m working in Zanzibar with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training’s (MoEVT) Inclusive Education and Life Skills (IELS) Unit. I’m supporting their work to strengthen inclusive education on the islands. I have been using learning from this work to develop and deliver inclusive education teacher training in three districts in south-west Zambia, which will then be piloted in local schools. On Pemba and Unguja Islands of Zanzibar, education trainers, including resource teachers, training centre co-ordinators and MoEVT representatives, attended a trainingof-trainers workshop introducing them to inclusive education approaches. They explored barriers to children’s presence, participation and achievement in education, and identified possible solutions to these barriers. Throughout the process I have encouraged participants to train their trainees using and adapting the participatory methodologies that they have experienced during the workshops. My aim is to ensure that teachers ‘learn through doing’, and thus gain a clearer understanding of the learner-friendly, participatory approaches that will ensure more

children, with a variety of learning styles, can participate and achieve in their lessons.

Critical thinking about inclusion At EENET we encourage education stakeholders and practitioners to document and share their experiences and ideas relating to inclusion. But more than that, we support them to think and act critically about how they implement inclusive, quality education for all, including those from marginalised groups (for example, learners with disabilities and/or special educational needs (SEN), street and working children, learners from ethnic minorities and those whose mother-tongue is not the language of instruction). The kind of innovations we need within teacher education and classroom practice, to make inclusive education a reality, will only happen if teachers and other education stakeholders have the skills and confidence to reflect critically on what works, what doesn’t and what changes they could all make. Over the years there has been a huge increase in the amount of information about inclusive education, and an increasing demand for help from practitioners with understanding how to practically implement regular education that is accessible and high quality for all learners. EENET offers free information via our website, and through email and Skype sessions. We ‘repackage’ or ‘distil’ a wealth of information through booklets, posters and EENET’s annual Enabling Education Review, to make information accessible to all interested parties, including our grassroots target audiences. Duncan can be contacted at: For more information about EENET visit: Duncan Little is a director and senior consultant of EENET – the Enabling Education Network.

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RIGHTS AND JUSTICE FOR ALL Xiao Hui Eng, Research Fellow at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law explains how a fair rights and justice system creates the conditions to make education accessible The rule of law is often mentioned as a vital partner to democracy and good governance, but its content is not often well understood, even among lawyers. It has been identified by UNESCO as an important learning theme within global citizenship education at both primary and secondary level, and it is a value to be promoted as part of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC), compulsory in all UK state schools.

What is the rule of law? A justice system that respects the rule of law is one that upholds equality and fairness and has regard for individual liberties. It serves all in society regardless of personal attributes and does not exclude those who have fewer resources or are disadvantaged in any other way. This means having laws that provide for equal enjoyment of rights, as well as a justice system that enforces those rights fairly and equitably.

The Bingham Centre’s rule of law in schools project Since 2014, the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law has run ‘The Rule of Law for Citizenship Education’, an innovative project that provides resources and support to schools to teach the rule of law. It is not simply a fact-based method of teaching law and justice. Rather, it equips students with the skills to analyse and evaluate the justice system and to understand the fundamental principles underpinning a good justice system. It engages students with democracy, justice, and rights where they arise in real-life scenarios relating to topical issues such as immigration, rights to a fair trial, equality before the law, the abuse of power, and human rights. Through case studies and examples students critically examine political, social and legal issues and consider values important to modern society. The project also helps develop key skills that will serve students across their schooling and into later life. It stretches students to think beyond their own experiences, promotes debate and analysis, building the confidence to form and articulate independent opinions and to draw reasoned conclusions, while having the ability to be sensitive to other points of view. The first phase of the project has been run in schools across England. Many have high free school meal eligibility rates and low attainment levels. The resources received outstanding feedback and were awarded To comment on this article, email

the Quality Mark of the Association for Citizenship Teaching, the national citizenship teaching subject association.

Rights and justice are for everyone An independent evaluation of the project pilot found that it succeeded in engaging children who are not usually high-achieving or the most confident in their peer groups, as it challenges pre-conceived ideas and the notion of a simple ‘right answer’. By teaching that rights and justice are for all, rule of law education promotes a positive outlook, showing that everyone can achieve change in society through accessing information and pursuing the right channels. Beyond making learning itself more accessible, the project’s longer-term aims are to instil in students the idea that they should all play a full and active part in society, and to prepare students with the knowledge, skills and understanding to do so by equipping them to analyse critically the authorities and system that make and administer important decisions affecting their lives.

Join the project The Bingham Centre welcomes schools and teachers interested in the project. Samples of resources are available on the Centre’s web site. To receive a pack of free resources, please sign up on the project web page: The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, named after the late senior judge Lord (Tom) Bingham, works to promote and enhance of the rule of law worldwide and is in discussion with the Steve Sinnott Foundation on project partnership.




CREDIBLE CLEAR WATER REVIVAL Lack of decent sanitary facilities is one of the biggest obstacles to school attendance. The organisation Toilet Twinning came up with a brilliantly creative answer. Their CEO Lorraine Kingsley explains how it works.

private to wash or change their clothes during their period. In poor, rural communities like these, families cannot afford sanitary towels.

On the shelf above Bridget’s bed is a blue box. In it she keeps an exercise book for homework and her tin pencil case. Apart from a few clothes, it’s all she has in the world.

‘Most of the girls wouldn’t come to school at all during their period – so they would miss a week of school per month,’ says headteacher Kenneth Mushoborozi. ‘This affected their grades.’

But these are her treasures – because school is her hope of a better future. The fact that Bridget is still in school at 14 is something of a miracle.

The old toilets for younger children have also been much improved and a new water butt for handwashing installed.

Uganda has one of the highest primary school drop-out rates in the world: only one in three Ugandan children completes primary education. And Bridget lives in one of the poorest parts of this poor country, Rukungiri district in the south-west.

Toilet Twinning’s local partner has also linked the school to a gravity flow pipeline with a new tapstand, providing the children with fresh drinking water for the first time.

Bridget’s parents are banana farmers – despite the banana blight that has decimated crops for years. They can only just afford to eat. The pressure on young girls to provide for their family is intense: until recently, 20 girls would drop out of Bridget’s school, Ndago Primary, every year. And there’s another barrier in their way. Few schools have adequate toilets so boys and girls regularly fall sick and miss class. And when girls reach puberty and start their periods, they miss school more often. Many drop out altogether. Toilet Twinning raises funds to provide proper toilets, clean water and hygiene education in some of the poorest communities in the world. It works like this. You ‘twin’ your toilet with a latrine overseas – and help families and entire communities take those first crucial steps out of generational poverty.



Recently, we funded a new girls’ toilet block at Bridget’s school. These basic pit latrines have already had a dramatic effect on drop-out rates. Within three months, more than 65 girls had re-enrolled in class. Bridget’s primary school now has 100 girls aged 14 or older. New teachers have come too, attracted partly by the new facilities. ‘Our old latrines were disgusting, especially in the rainy season,’ says Bridget. ‘You’d feel sick and people would be retching, because they were so smelly.’ Her face lights up. ‘We now have a very new pit latrine, which is comfortable to use.’ The new toilet block for older pupils, installed by our local partner, also has a separate changing room, giving girls somewhere

Before, the children had to skip class and trek 1km to collect water from a stream – water contaminated by animal and human waste. The children burst into spontaneous and sustained applause when their tap was turned on for the first time. This vital combination – toilets, taps and training in handwashing – will encourage children to enrol in school and stay in school. We’ve made strong progress on increasing school enrolment in recent years. But keeping children – especially girls – in school is a different challenge. Something as simple as a pit latrine can have a dramatic impact on drop-out rates. It can rewrite a child’s future. Bridget puts it far better than I ever can. ‘When I finish school I want to become a nurse. And to achieve this, I need to stay healthy.’

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OUR OPINION Money is not the only currency In a museum in the coastal town of Swakopmund in Namibia is a display about the country’s Himba people. It is headed with a quotation, “We lose our children by sending them to school”. It is alarming. It seems to challenge every assumption upon which the great effort for Education for All has been founded. At the Steve Sinnott Foundation we repeatedly proclaim education as a fundamental right of every child. But what if it is a right that parents and their children and their children’s children choose not to exercise, a choice made because their lives, though tough in our terms, are happy and full of joy under African skies or in the beautiful remote lands of South Asia and South America? Is our effort to secure Education for All in part perhaps a new benevolent imperialism of the wealthy “west” or, even more darkly, an all too cynical investment in a future pool of cheap skilled labour ? They’re questions that almost cannot be asked. So much, it seems, depends on avoiding them. At the Steve Sinnott Foundation we do not fear the answers, because they are the answers that teachers the world over articulate every day in the work they do and in the commitments they make. That is why the Steve Sinnott Foundation was established to make a special contribution to Education for All. On the next display in the museum at Swakopmund, the alarming quotation is explained a little more and it takes on a different tone. “Modern Himba children go to school where they are taught according to Western knowledge systems, with little respect for or attention to indigenous knowledge and values”. The complaint is not that parents do not want education for their children, it is rather that what they are taught and the way they are taught cuts them off from their history and their culture. It does not have to be, nor should it be. We in the so-called developed world must stop assuming the authority to dominate. The Steve Sinnott Foundation advocates the use of a different currency, one that does not use material wealth as the means of exchange. We can use instead the riches of the best features of history and culture respecting and valuing all equally. We must also stop misrepresenting countries in the developing world just as places where children sit forlorn, doe-eyed and tearful, tugging at our heartstrings and our pockets against a background of soft music. Steve himself would tell stories of children so eager for education that they could not comprehend the idea of truancy. His experiences were proof that there is in these countries an eagerness for knowledge and understanding that we have a duty to satisfy. It is not a duty of charity and compassion. It is an obligation to share – and we are guaranteed a rich return. That we believe is the right way to secure educational development – as Steve said “Working together, winning together”.

Teachers and friends – everyone is welcome

Isle of Wight Joint Fundraising Challenge Friday 13th to Sunday 15th May 2016 There are hundreds of miles of interesting walking routes across the Isle of Wight which immerse you in some of the most beautiful landscapes; rugged coastal walks and enchanting forest trails take you to discover the Isle of Wight’s many hidden treasures; striking chalk geology and great views out to sea. If you would be interested in taking part please email ann.beatty@ To find out more about our work visit

NEWS BITS We’re moving – but not far. As from 1 April our address will be Arnold House, 15 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1JR. Check out our website for the new telephone number. We’re very excited to be talking with Educators International and PhonicsGhana about the use of affordable technology supporting teachers in remote areas. Our first successful venture into crowdfunding has raised over £9000 to make three short animated films about the difference education makes. Watch out for June 2016 release of “My Life Changed”. Looking forward to talking again with Baroness Scotland and with Alison Bellwood at World’s Largest Lesson, Project Everyone. Cotton bags and pens. Show off your support for the Foundation and help us raise our profile. They’ll be available at the UK NUT and ATL Conferences Easter 2016 or contact us to ask for more.

Dr. Kishore Singh is an International Law Expert and also the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education.



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WHAT’S GOING ON? News and updates from the Foundation Project Sierra Leone

Choir Singing with the Denham Divas and a visit to the University of London Goldsmiths College.

The Foundation was delighted to be working work with 12 teachers and educators in London this February, in a partnership programme with EducAid Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Education. We were particularly pleased that three female teachers attended this repeat of a project begun with a different Sierra Leonean teacher group in 2011. As well as a packed CPD programme led by the Foundation’s Education Team, the teachers attended a range of cultural activities – West Africa Word Symbol and Song and a Creative Writing Workshop at the British Library, Martial Arts and Self Belief with the Dojo Project,

This Facebook message was posted by one of the teachers, Cobra Mohamed Bangura, reflecting on his visit to England. It fairly represents this thoughtful, inspirational and resilient group of educators who understood and grasped the potential for education in Sierra Leone.

Education for All Days Education for All (EFA) is a global commitment to help secure access to quality education for the millions of primary age children around the world still without schooling and the millions more without secondary education. The Steve Sinnott Foundation’s Education for All Awareness days see young people in UK schools taking part in a range of activities across the curriculum and raising awareness and understanding in their local communities.

“They say England is cold, yet I survived it; they say the food is difficult to adapt to, but I enjoyed it; they say it’s a ‘land of all man mind you business’. Indeed that’s true but you will always have people that will give a helping hand. I’m very thankful and grateful to all who have made it possible for me to visit England, a country everyone is dying to visit to learn new and effective pedagogies. But most importantly, to go back to my homeland to pass on the knowledge and to create a positive impact on the lives of many Sierra leoneans. Salone here I come.”

The day raises awareness and engages partners, stimulates discussion and debate, the sharing of ideas and learning and allows everyone to get involved in big or small ways by hosting events, fundraising or simply committing to using the EFA resource pack. By promoting and campaigning for their peers overseas, young people are able to take ownership of their global citizenship. The programme then encourages EFA related activities to happen throughout the school year. EFA day in your school can be any day you choose but the Foundation selects one day in

each year to showcase the project. Our showcase day for 2016 is Thursday 30 June. This will be a day of raising awareness and engagement across all of the Foundation’s global partners. We have lots of exciting events planned on the day. We have teamed up with Spark London to showcase the Art of Storytelling and we will be asking everyone to tell and share stories about education at a venue in London in the evening. So start sending us your stories now – on paper, in Braille, as drawings, recordings, short films or be ready to act out or mime your story on 30 June. Save the date.

How to get in touch Visit our website for more information and regular updates. To find out how you can get involved in EFA Day or other activities contact Ann Beatty on



FROM THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S DESK The Steve Sinnott Foundation is growing, growing in profile, in impact, and in the range of our projects now focused on developing Learning Resource Centres around the world. Reflecting this growth, the Foundation Directors have changed Ann Beatty’s title to Chief Executive. Here Ann looks forward to the next 12 months.

teachers. I want to be able to look outside of my village and outside of Uganda. I know what problems I have to solve, be they teaching or social issues. I know how to research the solutions. I just need access.” This is what I was told by a Ugandan teacher working in a school that, so far, has only one computer and that’s for the head teacher’s use.

I feel truly blessed to have been given the exciting opportunity to work as Chief Executive for the Steve Sinnott Foundation and to be taking part in the global movement to provide Education for All.

The Foundation is now working to support teachers’ needs through the provision of Learning Resource Centres. These will be centres through which teachers can connect and support each other. At the UK NUT Conference in 2015, delegates donated in a “bucket collection” to allow us to scope out the potential for a centre in Haiti. We’ve made great progress. We now have a fully funded budget to establish this centre and we’re working to make it sustainable in the long term. We’re also now planning similar centres in Nepal, Sierra Leone and Uganda and we’re in exciting discussions with other organisations about how these centres can be used – including the use of affordable education technology.

It’s been an eventful few months, learning all about the wonderful, challenging but positive world of education both in the UK and internationally. What we aim for is United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. This goal is a huge challenge for the world. I think it is the one that will have the greatest effect on the achievement of all the other Sustainable Development Goals. Without access to education for all across the globe, progress to achieve those goals will not be made by the target date of 2030. The Steve Sinnott Foundation is part of a global Education for All movement and we believe that the challenge to achieve SDG 4 is only going to be met if involved organisations develop solutions by collaboration. We take time to meet teachers and educators on the ground to find out about the challenges to achieving a quality education accessible to all. We work to promote opportunities to connect and share solutions. I have found it a humbling experience to meet teachers doing the most wonderful work in extraordinary circumstances. Just to mention a few, in Watford England, where we are based, I’ve spent time with teachers working with pupils at Chessbrook Education Support Centre. I’ve been awed by the teaching assistants at Belmont Primary School, where the TA’s taught themselves braille so that the blind students there could become independent learners. In Sierra Leone I’ve been privileged to meet teachers working with 100 students of all ages and abilities in one classroom. I’ve been amazed by the teachers who work with Restavak girls in Haiti. I have witnessed accessible education in action where there are great obstacles. I’ve seen that there is so much that teachers can share with each other around the world to develop sustainable solutions to their own challenges in their own context. “We do not want aid, we just want to be able to access other

Learning Resource Centres Last year, money received from a “bucket collection” at the UK National Union of Teachers annual conference was used directly to finance the scoping of a Learning Resource Centre in Haiti. This project is now funded and in development. We have been working over the past year with teachers on the ground to find out the best

Back in the UK, we have developed our Education for All (EFA) project working with teachers to develop resources across all areas of the curriculum, and we’re linking it with a project to share stories with children in connected schools around the world. We have teamed up with Spark London to host a storytelling event on our UK awareness day 2016 on Thursday 30th June. So please wherever you are in the UK, save the date. In the next 12 months we aim to continue to have as much impact as possible in supporting access to learning worldwide. We’ll be supporting teachers and educators to access training, development and resources. The accessibility and sustainability of public education which is the theme of this issue of ENGAGE will be one of the main focuses of our work. So, thank you to all our friends and partners for joining us on this journey so far. We will welcome many more. We are very proud to be part of the Education for All global community and pleased ourselves to be learning as we work. UK NUT General Secretary and Foundation Director, Christine Blower said at our recent Getting Involved event “The Steve Sinnott Foundation is a small foundation with a big heart”. I couldn’t agree more. I am looking forward to the next lesson. I never thought I would hear myself say that…

way of supporting teachers to develop their own sustainable solutions to the challenges they face. We developed a model to kickstart a stimulation of ideas and discussion. We needed to translate the initial concept into solid plans for the development of the centres to make them sustainable, manageable and fit for purpose. Teachers themselves will develop these resource centres locally. They will provide facilities that are well managed and

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sustainable. They will allow teachers to connect with each other and to provide mentoring and support, the sharing of ideas, development of teaching methods – and solidarity. They will assist capacity building and teacher training relevant to local circumstances and conditions. The first learning resource centre in Haiti is scheduled to start on site this year. There are further learning Resource Centres planned in Sierra Leone, Nepal and Uganda.



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Engage 13 spring 2016 online  

ENGAGE Issue 13 - UK Government Minister, Nick Hurd and opposition shadow Secretary of State, Labour's Diane Abbott describe their commitmen...

Engage 13 spring 2016 online  

ENGAGE Issue 13 - UK Government Minister, Nick Hurd and opposition shadow Secretary of State, Labour's Diane Abbott describe their commitmen...


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