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Towards work from special education in Europe

'Towards Work from Special Education in Europe' provided ground-breaking opportunities for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to find out what preparation there is for work in their own communities and across Europe. Students worked collaboratively with one-another to explore concepts and approaches to work; current opportunities for work experience in school, outside of school; and the agencies involved in finding jobs, both paid and unpaid. They identified examples of good practice and made recommendations for increased employment of disabled people. Thus they became aware of underemployment and unemployment and what is being done to tackle these problems.The benefits were discovering more about themselves and those similar to them in other countries. The project illustrated the differences in culture that appear in different countries and regions within a country -they do not have to travel abroad to encounter these. By exploring their own communities and the experiences of those close to them they increased their own sense of worth and place in the society and raised their capacity for social mobility.Our collaborative approach was a platform for European unity. Combining shared knowledge, skills, interests and creativity to produce pictures, books, and videos culminating in an online, visual representation of all project work, wholly integrated into the curricula of each school.There were huge benefits to SEN teachers, often isolated, being part of a Europe-wide community of practice. Compared their different professional systems/practices, advantages/disadvantages, differences/similarities, learned from each other and, ultimately, improved the lives of the disadvantaged people they work with.
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