Blogs (Mentoring policy exchange)

School Innovation Forum 2022

Whole-school mentoring workshop


Transferring and scaling innovation related to digital technologies in school education is an ongoing policy challenge across Europe. As nowadays a great number of advanced schools have already developed efficient frameworks for technology-enhanced teaching and learning, such schools could now be ready to take up a leading role within mentoring clusters to guide and support less-advanced schools on a transformational journey for school improvement. How could this be done? What benefits and challenges to expect? What type of support can come from policy-makers/shapers?

During the “Whole-school mentoring for school improvement” workshop, framed under the Mentoring Policy Exchange Mechanism of the MenSI project, participants had the chance to discuss and exchange ideas on how whole-school mentoring can support school innovation through the mainstreaming of innovative digital teaching practices and peer networking.

Some of the key aspects tackled by the participants are connected to the different areas of school-to-school mentoring and the necessary elements for its implementation.

Benefits: Help to create a common vision to accelerate innovation, develop a supportive culture and a mindset for lifelong learning.

Technology: Need for secure spaces and sustainable sharing of resources.

Incentives & resources: Time and flexibility, tools and training but also recognition and financial incentives for the schools and teachers involved in mentoring activities.

Policy support: Direct funding and project initiatives, adaptation of regulations and acknowledgement and promotion of school mentoring and networking.

Regarding the challenges, the following four elements which had been previously identified by partner schools participating in the MenSI project pilot were highlighted:

  • initiating dialogue to overcome scepticism towards mentoring at whole-school level,
  • integrating mentoring practices in the whole school system,
  • time management and excessive workload,
  • sustaining inter-school collaboration in the long run.

Finally, participants agreed on the importance of developing, expanding and sustaining the mentoring approach for school innovation as a strategy that can contribute to forge collaboration between many stakeholders involved in the transformation of educational policies across Europe.

Mentoring Policy Exchange

MenSI is extending its reach by inviting relevant stakeholders to participate in the project’s Mentoring Policy Exchange Mechanism. By adopting this “policy-connected approach”, MenSI has developed a new space for discussion open to educational policymakers working at both national and regional level. This new forum will continue to be offered as an on-going service to policymakers under the EUN’s independently-funded Future Classroom Lab initiative.

The Policy Exchange Mechanism is currently composed by the MenSI Advisory Members and by Ministry of Education Working groups such as the Small and Rural Schools Interest Group and the Interactive Classroom Working Group.

Following the model developed for existing EUN ministry working groups, the Policy exchange includes both regular online and face-to-face meetings. In this regard, it provides a forum within which project partners can exchange on MenSI findings and recommendations with ministries and other Advisory Members interested in the project’s work. Ministries supporting this new mechanism may also seek to involve and obtain support for additional / future work on whole-school mentoring from the 30+ industry partners currently supporting the EUN Future Classroom Lab.