Keywords: Bulgaria, inclusive schools, mainstreaming, support for schools 

One School for All 

The ‘One School for All’ model was developed by the Centre for Inclusive Education, an NGO based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Through a one-year structured support programmeme, including mentoring and training sessions on school leadership and classroom practices, the model supports schools to evaluate and re-organize their processes in order to be more inclusive. In the past year it has expanded from supporting 12 schools in Bulgaria to a further 9 schools in 3 other countries through EU funding.

About the practice at a glance
Name of OrganisationCentre for Inclusive Education
Type of organisationNGO
Country
of Implementation
Bulgaria
Year started2014
Funding modelFunding to date has been through grants. The programme costs schools €5,200 for a year, plus overhead and coordination costs of €1,300.

IMPACT

The ‘One School For All’ programme works with schools at all levelsculture, policies, practices and  with all stakeholders, including consultation with students with disabilities, and is the first whole school approach to inclusive education in Bulgaria. The programme leads to an improvement in teachers’ understanding of inclusive education, teacher and parent attitudes to inclusive education and teachers’ understanding of their responsibility for inclusive education. Teachers report being more confident in communicating with parents and students have better experiences in school. The practice has grown from 5 schools in 2014/15 to 12 schools in 2018/19. Thanks to the partnership with the schools in the programme in Bulgaria, the Centre for Inclusive Education (CIE) was actively involved in the consultations for inclusive education with the national parliament and the Ministry of Education in developing a new law on education 

THEORY OF CHANGE

We asked projects to outline their impact model (also called Theory of Change) – their main target groups, the key activities they offer these target groups, and what impact they want to achieve:

Target GroupActivityImpact
Teachers
Trainings, mentorship
After one year of work, improvement in teachers’ understanding of inclusive education (IE):
+34% considering that IE is for all students
+18% IE is for the teachers
+24% IE is for the parents)

Improvement in teachers’ attitudes to IE:
(+10% increased explicit support and significant increase of support towards different types of difficulties); teachers’ understanding of their responsibility for IE (+32% improvement). Teachers recognize the students’ strengths (+8%); apply differentiated approach in teaching (+26%). Teachers are more confident in communicating with parents (+14%). Schools develop child protection procedure.

ParentsTeachers conduct activities to improve the relationship with parents and their participation in schoolImproved parents’ support to diversity in school (12%) (3 years after the work starts). Improved parent’s involvement in the school (differs by school).
StudentsTeachers attitudes toward students; teachers teaching practices.Improved students’perception to the school: 14%; Improved students perception about the teachers support to them: 10%; Improved students perception of
their participation in the school: 18%; Improved students acceptance for diversity: 26% (3 years after the work starts). Improved learning for students with learning difficulties (after the first year of work).

REPLICATION EXPERIENCE

We have already replicated our innovation. The programme has just started to be scaled up to other 3 countries and 9 schools within an Erasmus+ project . A training of trainers will be conducted who will then support the schools for 2 years to introduce this systemic approach in their work towards inclusive education. The project will look for patterns in the process of building inclusive schools and will translate and adapt a free e-learning course Introduction to Inclusive Education’ that was developed throughout One School For All’ programme. Along with the scaling up within Erasmus + project SMILE, CIE has recently been invited as experts to share their experience in Turkey and has trained teachers in Russia. 

ORGANISATIONAL CAPACITY AND STRATEGY

The ‘One School For All model is a core programme for CIE. Its replication abroad – products, lessons learned etc. – is part of the strategy of the CIE. The main current goals are to support the scaling up of the practice in the three new countries, and to make the One School For All programme available to schools across Bulgaria. The people who will be involved in the work are the ones who have been engaged with managing the programme and working on its methodological development and monitoring support. in a team: Liliya Arakchieva works at the Centre for Inclusive Education as the project manager of ‘One School for All’ Programme – LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/liliya-arakchieva-636984131/. Lilia Krasteva-Peeva is Research, Analyses and Methodologies, Monitoring and evaluation Executive at Centre for inclusive education, LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lilia-krasteva-peeva-73995a16/. Margarita Asparuhova-Kandilarova is an educational methodologies and development expert at CIE, and is the co-author of the model. 

MOTIVATION

One School For All represents a core programme of developing a systemic answer to a challenge that is encountered in every country in the world – how to facilitate and support schools in their work to become more inclusive. CIE believes that their context – a slow process of transformation from a medical model of disability, to integration and ultimately to inclusion is very similar to the country contexts in other countries around the world and that organizations working in these contexts could benefit from their knowledge. As a NGO, they are looking for new possibilities to cooperate with potential partners to transfer know-how, or governmental organizations in other countries that could learn from their lessons and use their resources. They are also actively seeking new funding opportunities. Scaling up could evolve in two directions – creating conditions for mainstreaming the One School For All model among schools in the partner country and creating conditions for ensuring access to the good practice of more schools at wider level. The upscaling has the following main pillars: the partner organizations and schools and free e-learning courses in English. These will offer the knowledge about inclusive education and some principles of the Model. This course is already available in Bulgarian, it will be translated in English soon. The course will be disseminated for use among school principals and school teams that use English language. The Zero Project Impact Transfer programme will provide know how and mentorship that could support their current scaling up, as well as their future plans. Key questions are: How to present the model in a way that is attractive and understandable? How to make sure that the specific context does not take too much energy and how to make the Model fully convertible? How to search for partners and clients abroad?