When and how has the Index been translated and adapted?
The third edition of the Index for Inclusion in Bulgaria is currently implemented in 10 schools in the city and region of Sofia. The translation was completed in February 2013 and the adaptation work will be completed by September.
How has the Index been disseminated?
All the schools have started work with introductory training for the school principals and the Index coordinators. This training saw the participation of the author of the Index, Professor Tony Booth.
Subsequently, the Centre for Inclusive Education has organized the presentation of the Index for Inclusion in all the teacher teams in the schools. At these presentations the teachers could start practical work with the Index by discussing the values that are shared and enacted in their schools as well as by identifying some barriers to inclusion.
How has the Index been used in Bulgaria?
The next stage was ’Learning more about our school‘– getting acquainted with the Indicators and working with the questionnaires in the Index. Teacher teams conducted reviews of the school environment among themselves and also among the children and the parents.
At present schools are conducting the planning meetings where teachers are discussing the results from the questionnaires that they have distributed.
All the schools are going through the activities at almost the same time, but the summarizing and the analysis of the answers are done in unique ways by each school, according to the procedures that the school decides to apply while implementing the work. Some of the teams have the liberty to plan the changes, in other cases the school principal as the team leader does this. In September the Centre for Inclusive Education will conduct another series of meetings to review and finalize the planning, so schools can start implementing what has been decided.
Schools have been expressing their great satisfaction with the information they have received from the parents and children. In some of the schools the school principals have already started implementing what was requested and suggested by the answers from the questionnaires. School principals also plan to address the municipality and ask for their support, having in hand such a powerful tool: the opinions of the school community.
The approach of the Centre for Inclusive Education in this long but meaningful process of school self-reflection and self-evaluation is to be only the facilitator and critical friend to the schools, instead of doing the whole work on their behalf. Our experts believe that in this way schools will have ownership over the tool and will feel empowered to use it in future on their own, making it a good school practice. CIE tries to keep on the right track when including the interests of the diverse groups of kids. It works also to reverse the perspective which sees inclusion as applicable only to children with Special Educational Needs, and promotes it as being relevant for all children in school.
Future plans for work with the Index
As a mean of exchanging good practice and promoting the methodology and philosophy of the Index, there is a website in Bulgarian where news from the schools and successful stories are collected and shared. A discussion forum has been started on the site.
Information about this website is sent out to all schools and educational agencies in Bulgaria. Our ambition is to make it a national platform for shared information about inclusion. The funding for this work has been provided by the EU under the administration of the Bulgarian Ministry for labour and social services.
Links to websites for projects and settings making use of the Index and related initiatives in Bulgaria
Centre for Inclusive Education
Who should I contact?
Iva Boneva, Director, Centre for Inclusive Education firstname.lastname@example.org
Lilia Krasteva, expert email@example.com
Stefan Yordanov, expert firstname.lastname@example.org
Latinka Ducheva, expert email@example.com