VIA and University College London cooperate on improving schools

VIA and UCL cooperate on improving school effectiveness, management and leadership based on VIA's experience with the Danish school reform and UCL's work with "The London Challenge"

VIA and UCL cooperate on improving school effectiveness, management and leadership based on VIA's experience with the Danish school reform and UCL's work with "The London Challenge".

The two educational institutions have long-standing experience and are well-known for their skills within the fields of teaching and pedagogy. In addition, both schools focus on equal educational opportunities for all children, no matter their backgrounds. Thus, the common philosophy constitutes a great base for collaboration and knowledge sharing for the benefit of all parties involved.

The London Challenge – winning the battlefield of teaching

UCL is ranked in the top-20 multi-disciplinary universities in the world and is the world leader in school leadership and effectiveness. Their institute of Education has played a vital part in revitalizing the entire school system in the city of London, evoking impressive results in boosting the level of both general well-being and academic skills of the children in London.

For many years, the school system in London was challenged in practicing efficient teaching and performance was among the worst in the entire UK. In 2003, the government initiated ‘The London Challenge ’ project, in which UCL was a member of the project board, to change this, and were actually, over the course of some years, successful in doing so through political prioritisation, massive investments and hard work. In fact, the changes started by The London Project means that both daycare and schools, even in socially marginalised areas of London, perform above the overall UK average.

London Challenge results resonates with VIA’s approach

Succeeding in boosting all children’s skills and level of well-being is what really stands out in the project in London. Despite different learning conditions due to complex demographical differences in London, UCL was part of a transformation that has modelled equal educational opportunities.

This corresponds very well with the Danish national goals for public daycare and schools – the development of which VIA contributes to through collaboration with municipalities and local schools – with the ambition of giving every child the best start in life and the possibility to learn as much as they can. Also, VIA’s professional position of strength and focus is educating in school effectiveness, capacity building among staff and developing professional learning-communities across school managements. Therefore, the ongoing partnership between UCL and VIA will focus on transferring experience and know-how to higher education and welfare practices in both England and Denmark.

Professional study trips facilitated by VIA

In practice, the partnership has resulted in a study trip facilitated by VIA and UCL for the Danish municipality of Aarhus, who went to London to investigate how to build effective school systems by visiting local institutions and having discussions with local researchers and practitioners. Likewise, VIA hosted a visit for programme Leader Karen Spence-Thomas from UCL's Institute of Education. She was introduced to VIA’s organization, strategy and methodology and not least selected schools in the Aarhus area. The visit included an introduction to Danish innovation in school architecture and didactic design thinking. The success of the first trip means that more are now in the pipeline. The next one taking place in collaboration with Skanderborg Municipality from 11 to 13 March 2019.

VIA is honoured by this brilliant opportunity to build a partnership with the leading university in the world when it comes to developing professional training within the field of school-management and effectiveness and look forward to incorporating the new knowledge gained into our educational programmes and courses.

UCL Facts:

  • 38,000 students from more than 150 countries
  • 13,000 staff
  • Ranked the 13th best university in the world
  • Ranked as no. 1 within school leadership and effectiveness

If you want to learn more do not hesitate to contact
Head of Programme Søren Boy Larsen, E:, T: +45 8755 1978

Are you interested in exploring possibilities for partnerships or collaboration with VIA?
Contact Executive Senior Adviser in VIA Global Engagement Tina Bundgaard:
T: +45 8755 1504

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