In line with COMPAS aims, the team led by internationally recognised expert in promoting inclusive education, Mark Penfold, provides training on inclusive education practice with a special emphasis on the inclusion of Roma.
Mark is well qualified to deliver the training. Five Roma pupils in his school (Babington College in Leicester) have university places; he has spoken in Brussels and Strasbourg for the Council of Europe on inclusion and Roma integration; and moderated a session of the EU working group on Improving Education for Vulnerable groups held in Bratislava last September.
Mark’s training focuses on:
- presentation of data from Babington college showing successful outcomes for Roma pupils born in Slovakia but now studying in the UK.
- Exploring the strategies and teaching methods which have promoted inclusion of Roma pupils.
- Exploring common excuses/reasons provided for the low attainment of Roma in Slovak schools and offer ways of addressing them.
The training is supported by Ondrej Olah. Ondrej was sent to special school in Sabinov, Eastern Slovakia, at the age of 11. His parents refused to allow this and moved to the UK. He joined Babington at the age of 11 with no English and left with the highest grades possible and achieved grades at the age of 18 which put him in the top 4% of the population of the UK. During the training, Ondrej explains, from a pupil’s perspective, the difference between a system which decreed he needed to attend special school and a system which says “You need to attend a top university.”
The intended outcomes of the training are:
- To convince educators that Roma pupils are capable of better attainment
- To show what changes have to be made to achieve this
- To emphasise the role that individual educators have to ensure the success of the above
- To sell the benefits for societies and Roma communities of better education outcomes for Roma pupils.
On Tuesday 12th June 2018, Mr Krajnak, Secretary of state for Slovakia, visited Babington to compare education and inclusive practices. You can read Mr Penfold’s full report: