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Tackling diversity in the classroom


A new education programme aims to promote the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and newly-arrived migrants in the classroom.

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The Promise project - involving seven European partners - will develop strategies to address the integration of children and young people with special educational needs, ethnic minorities, Roma and Sinti populations and those from low socio-economic backgrounds.

The project, which will provide support for teachers in dealing with diversity in the classroom, is led by Leeds Beckett University, working alongside six partner institutions from Hungary, Slovenia, Netherlands, Scotland and Germany

It will be funded by a £385,000 grant from the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme, which aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe.

All the partners are members of the Association of Teacher Education Europe (ATEE) - an international research and practice exchange group.

Dr Mhairi Beaton, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett led the bid. She said: “Classroom across Europe are becoming increasingly diverse and this is presenting huge challenges to all teachers.

“It is already such a complex job, and the demands on teachers change so rapidly. Every classroom in every school is different and each set of 30 children present extremely complicated issues.

“The Promise project will support teachers working in complex situations, providing them with a set of attitudes and principals that they can apply in the classroom.”

While addressing issues affecting minorities, the project also aims to prevent radicalisation of children who become marginalised.

Over the next three years, comprehensive resources will be developed and then offered for free on websites in all the partner countries.

The European project will be based in Leeds Beckett’s CollectivED Research and Practice Centre, with the university’s contribution involving the Story Makers Company - a partnership between Leeds

Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education and some of the most innovative and cutting edge drama, theatre and arts practitioners in the North of England.

Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education, said the EU grant was the largest ever awarded to the school.

“There are few more important issues in education than inclusion and this project will be essential in working with teachers to meet the needs of diverse learners, especially those who have been marginalised through migration.

“As a School that places social justice at the centre of our practice, we’re immensely proud to have won funding for this essential work.”

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