The project SeBI: Securing the Best Interest of the Child in Educational School Administration is financed by the European Commission, through funds granted by the National Erasmus + Support for policy reform Key Action 3 (KA3) Social inclusion and common values: the contribution in the field of education and training with reference number 612177-EPP-1-2019-1-CY-EPPKA3-IPI-SOC-IN.

The main concept of the project is the Best Interest of Child, a term that has been used in a number of international human rights documents, most notably the 1959 Declaration on the Rights of the Child, the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

According to the CRC: “The best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration in all actions affecting children, there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status, states Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life and shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child and children shall be assured the right to express their views freely in all matters affecting them, their views being given due weighting accordance with the child’s age and level of maturity”. The novel characteristic of this statement of the best interests principle was probably its scope as for the first time, it extended its reach to an obligation on States “to ensure that children’s interests are placed at the heart of government and of all decision-making which impacts on children”.

Since then a clear and precise understanding of the “best interest” concept remains to be further elaborated since it has been subject to different interpretations. At the same time the reality often comes in contrast with the legislation regarding the best interest of the child, not only in cases of social crisis but in normality as well. Despite the important work by the European Union, the Council of Europe and others in the field of ensuring children’s rights, a reality check across Europe suggests that levels of child poverty and social exclusion are escalating.

It is evidenced, not only in the EU, but in other countries around the world, that educational systems are not yet fully build to implement the best interest of the Child. Hence, one of the best ways through which states can address the best interests of the Child is to enshrine them to their educational institutions and practices. The lack of training and knowledge on the part of decision makers at this level in primary and secondary education may prolong the achievement gap and marginalization of disadvantaged children. Such achievement gap can be reduced through relevant practices established in schools based on the forthcoming country specific needs analysis and desk research.

The SEBI project, aims to identify the key challenges that educational systems face in areas were the determination of the Best Interest of the Child is a prerequisite, and prepare methods, tools and processes to support evidence-based policy making supporting school leaders, teachers and policymakers.

Objectives

The project’s objectives are:

To identify the key challenges that educational systems face regarding decision making in areas were the determination of the Best Interest of the Child is a prerequisite.

To support evidence-based policy making.

To develop methods and tools that will enhance collaboration, communication and exchange of good practices in the promotion and facilitation of Determining the best Interest of the Child.

To facilitate sustainability and transferability of good practices through the development of policy and practices integration manuals for national educational systems, considering each systems framework.

Outcomes

WP1: Mapping the Ecosystem of Current Practices and Trends in Securing the Best Interest of the Child in Educational School Administration

The aim of this first part of the project is to investigate the situation regarding the Best Interests of the Child (BIC). The output refers to the Transnational Securing the Best Interests of the Child (SEBI) Ecosystem Mapping Report which will be developed through the compilation of the SEBI National Reports and the EU Report developed by the project partners. The partners will first conduct a literature review on the pedagogical models and administrative structures and practices in Securing the Best Interest of the Child in Educational School Administration at their countries. Then they will move on to an in-depth analysis and evaluation of the existing Best Interest of the Child (BIC) models and practices, investigating the learning and training needs of both the target groups and the stakeholders. Finally, they will provide suggestions, recommendations, and guidelines for the development of a SEBI training program and BIC model.

WP2: Capacity building of school staff and stakeholders

This Work Package will be dedicated to the development of the training material regarding the Best Interests of the Child (BIC). Based on the report produced at the first phase of the project, the training contents will be generated explaining effective methodologies, teaching techniques, tools, activities to create an inclusive environment for Securing the Best Interest of the Child in Educational School Administration. After this, an online platform will be created in order to make these materials available to the interested parts. As a second step the produced material will be used to train school staff, leaders, educators, and stakeholders. The training will be implemented by experts in the Best Interests of Child. Finally, the SEBI project’s material will be used in pilot actions and will be evaluated and assessed. The partners will first conduct a literature review on the pedagogical models and administrative structures and practices in Securing the Best Interest of the Child in Educational School Administration at their countries. Then they will move on to an in-depth analysis and evaluation of the existing Best Interest of the Child (BIC) models and practices, investigating the learning and training needs of both the target groups and the stakeholders. Finally, they will provide suggestions, recommendations, and guidelines for the development of a SEBI training program and BIC model.

WP3: Development, Testing and Fine-Tuning of Educative Assets

This work package foresees the creation and testing of innovative, up-to-date, and attractive educative assets for school leaders and teachers. These assets include a toolkit on how to create and sustain structure and administrative practices for Securing the Best Interest of the Child in Educational School Administration inside and around schools as well as a toolkit on who to drive and put into practice the SEBI program. Educative assets will be developed, tested, and fine-tuned within a whole school framework, involving all key-actors from different systemic levels and respective interactions.

WP4: Development of Policy Recommendations

On the basis of the experiences and evaluation of the project’s actions and results, a document establishing a set of policy recommendations for policy makers at all levels to adapt their policies and methods aimed at ensuring the Best Interest of the Child in Educational School Administration will be reflected in upcoming national, regional and European policies and directives.

WP5: Awareness Campaign, dissemination, and exploitation

This work package aims to the development and implementation of the communication, dissemination, and exploitation strategy of the project at national and European level. Its objectives is to establish and promote a sound and consistent brand for the project, to develop and co-ordinate project’s website and social media, to develop and deploy project’s promotional material, to organize the project’s dissemination and exploitation events, and to implement, coordinate and oversee the dissemination and exploitation strategy and project’s sustainability plan

WP6: Monitoring, Quality control and evaluation

The WP6 entails transversal/cross-cutting activities designed to control, monitor and assess the quality and potential impact of the project actions/outcomes/ outputs, ensuring the quality control of the project management, reporting problems and ensuring a standard quality level in the project management process. This work package’s aim is to determine and guarantee the effectiveness of the implementation phase and methodology applied, the achievement of the planned results / expected impact, the consistency between the objectives and results reached and those expected, the effectiveness of the dissemination activities, the quality of the training activity delivered, the effectiveness of the steering Committee meetings, and the sustainability related to the training methodology and its valorization.

WP7: Project Management and Coordination

This WP focuses on organizing, planning, and reporting, partnership meetings, internal communication, financial coordination and liaising with the European Commission. Therefore, the aim of this WP is to ensure proper operational and financial coordination and monitoring of the project progress towards the achievement of the planned outcomes and impact.