ISOTIS is a collaborative project funded by the European Union, which includes 17 partners and 11 countries. The project started in January 2017, and will continue until December 2019. ISOTIS aims to contribute to effective policy and practice development at different system levels in order to effectively combat early arising and persisting educational inequalities.



Dear reader,

I am proud to present to you the newest results of the ISOTIS-project. There is good and less good news. To start with the less good news: educational inequalities related to family background are pervasive in Europe and do not seem to have declined over recent decades. Being poor is linked to inequality and having an immigrant background is linked to even fewer opportunities. This is what Jesper Rözer and Herman van der Werfhorst found. They applied sophisticated analyses to large data-sets on children’s achievement in a range of countries. However in some countries, disadvantages according to family socioeconomic status and immigrant background are much smaller. We are going to find out why.

There is good news, and maybe this is already part of the answer to the previous question. Three rich inventories into potentially effective approaches to tackle inequalities and to increase inclusiveness in education and society are now available. Yvonne Anders and Joana Cadima and their team analyzed promising family support programs. Cecília Aguiar and her team examined models for inclusive classroom practice. Pauline Slot and colleagues focused on strategies of professional development. The three reports together provide a wealth of information and recommendations. They can be very useful for practice, for education programs and for policy making. Happy reading!

Warmest regards,



 Paul Leseman, ISOTIS Coordinator



The ISOTIS team released the following publications.

• Inequalities in educational opportunities by socioeconomic and migration background: A comparative assessment across European societies, by Jesper Rözer and Herman van de Werfhorst. This publication addresses levels of socioeconomic and migration-related inequalities in students’ (and young adults’) performance on mathematics, literacy and science, for a large number of countries, time periods and life stages. The study combines data from various surveys and assessments (PIRLS, TIMMS, PISA, and PIAAC).  Read full report

• Inventory and analysis of promising and evidence-based parent- and family focused support programs, edited by Joana Cadima, Gil Nata, Maria Evangelou and Yvonne Anders. This publication provides social context indicators on family support and educational inequalities for the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal. It addresses country profiles regarding child and family services, and country policies on equality issues, monitoring, and language support. It includes a set of evidence-based and promising family support services/programmes.  Read executive summary (full report available here soon)

• Inventory and analysis of promising curriculum, pedagogy, and social climate interventions tackling inequalities, by Cecília Aguiar, Carla Sofia Silva, Rita Guerra, Ricardo Borges Rodrigues, Luísa Ribeiro and Giulia Pastori. This publication addresses promising interventions, within the classroom and school microsystems, aiming to promote educational equality and belongingness for immigrant, Roma, and low-income children attending early childhood or primary education. It focuses on interventions used in the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal.  Read executive summary

• Inventory and analysis of professional development and models related to inclusiveness, by Pauline Slot, Bodine Romijn and Olga Wysłowska. This publication addresses professional development initiatives that are either focused at the topic of cultural and linguistic diversity and inclusiveness, or that are considered promising regarding the approach used (i.e. team-based models, use of ICT).  It focuses on interventions used in the Czech Republic, England, Flemish Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal.  Read full report

• Comprehensive review of the literature on inter-agency working with young children, incorporating findings from case studies of good practice in interagency working with young children and their families within Europe, by Jacqueline Barnes and ISOTIS colleagues. This report explores different models of inter-agency work, evidence of impact, facilitators and challenges, and the implications for good practice. It illustrates successful inter-agency working with culturally and linguistically diverse families, including lower-SES, immigrant, and Romani families, in Belgium, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and the UK. Read full report

Download these and other ISOTIS publications, and comment on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter. Your views are important to us.



• Our website has now a BLOG section! The authors of ISOTIS publications tell us about their work.

Check out the first post: "What characterizes promising professional development interventions related to inclusiveness?" by Pauline Slot. This post summarizes the main findings described in the publication "Inventory and analysis of professional development and models related to inclusiveness". Read post and give us your feedback.

More posts will be released soon. Stay tuned!



• The team met to discuss the project progress and upcoming tasks, at the Utrecht University, on March 7-9th. Topics included: the development of content for the Virtual Learning Environment prototype; the in-depth analyses of promising inclusive curricula and educational practices; and the interviews aimed at parents on children education and upbringing. More than 3000 interviews are now conducted! Read more

• On May 31st, the ISOTIS team addressing patterns and mechanisms regarding inequalities in educational careers met in Trinity College, in Dublin. The team discussed which measurement and method to use to study how inequalities develop during the life course. Our colleagues also debated which policies could potentially tackle inequalities.  Read more

• The ISOTIS team from the University of Oxford hosted the workshop “ISOTIS WP2 Qualitative Study: coding and analytical strategies: mothers from low income families without immigrant background”. It took place at the Department of Education of University of Oxford, on 23th-25th May. Colleagues from Poland, Portugal and England took part in the discussion. Read more



• ISOTIS analyses promising inclusive curricula and educational practices, aiming to describe key features and conditions for success, in early childhood education and primary school. Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon), on the behalf of the ISOTIS team working in this scope, presented the analyses being conducted at the event CED Talks, ISCTE-IUL, on January 12th.  See presentation

• "The social stratification of skills from infancy to adolescence – Evidence from an accelerated longitudinal design" is the title of the paper by ISOTIS researchers Giampiero Passaretta and Jan Skopek (Trinity College Dublin), presented at the II Convegno SISEC (Società Italiana di Sociologia Economica), in Milano, on January 26th.  Read more

• ISOTIS researchers from the Free University of Berlin conducted presentations at the 6th annual conference of the Association of Empirical Educational Research (GEBF), in Basel, on February 15-16th.  Read the abstracts (in German). Yvonne Anders and colleagues focused on different perspectives of educational professionals on language development and related pedagogy (p.236). Theresia Hummel and Yvonne Anders addressed the knowledge of early childhood education professionals concerning the cooperation with children’s families  (p. 238). Franziska Cohen, Yvonne Anders and colleague discussed the effects of changes in the care-taking environment on 5 years old children’s socio-emotional competences (p. 509).

• ISOTIS researchers Konstantinos Petrogiannis (Hellenic Open University), Paul Leseman (Utrecht University) and Giulia Pastori (University of Milano-Bicocca) participated in the conference of the Pan-Hellenic Association of Early Childhood Educators, on March 2nd-4th, in Thessaloniki. The conference theme focused on the reexamination of the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) at the international level. Findings from the CARE project, which involved many of the ISOTIS partners, were addressed. Read more

• On March 20th, ISOTIS researcher Edward Melhuish (University of Oxford) participated in the presentation of evidence on early intervention to the House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology, at the UK Parliament. He highlighted the importance of investing in early years, and addressed his review of the Sure Start programme. Watch meeting recording

• The webinar "Competences and standards: why do we need them for the early childhood workforce?", organized by the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative, was co-hosted by ISOTIS partner International Step by Step Association (ISSA), and moderated by our colleague Mihaela Ionescu (ISSA), on April 19th. The following topics were addressed: rationale for defining competences and standards for the early childhood workforce; non-negotiable and cross-sectoral competences; career development and mobility; and, quality assurance in early childhood services and systems.  Watch webinar recording



• "Engaging young children: Lessons from research about quality in early childhood education and care" is a new OECD publication. It addresses different dimensions of quality in early childhood education and care. One of the background studies is a literature review authored by ISOTIS researcher Pauline Slot (Utrecht University).  Read more

• "How does innovative continuous professional development (CPD) operate in the ECEC sector? Insights from a cross-analysis of cases in Denmark, Italy and Poland", is a new article by ISOTIS researchers Chiara Bove (University of Milan-Bicocca), Olga Wysłowska (University of Warsaw), Susanna Mantovani (University of Milan-Bicocca) and Małgorzata Karwowska‐Struczyk (University of Warsaw), and colleagues. It is published in the European Journal of Education. This article focuses on what characterises innovative continuous professional development in the field of early childhood education and care. Read more

• "Selectivity of migration and the educational disadvantages of second-generation immigrants in ten host societies" is a recently published article by ISOTIS researcher Herman van de Werfhorst (University of Amsterdam) and colleague, in the European Journal of Population. This article examines whether selective migration of a particular ethnic group in a particular destination country is related to the gap between their children’s and native children’s educational outcomes.  Read more

• "Mother-led integration: Discussion on two best practices in Milan for supporting migrant parenting on the female side" is the topic of an article by ISOTIS researcher Alessandra Mussi (University of Milan-Bicocca), published in the journal Formazione, Lavoro, Persona. It addresses the characteristics and importance of programs that support migrant motherhood, as a way of promoting well-being and integration of the family. Read full paper (in Italian)

• "Differential effects of home and preschool learning environments on early language development" is an article authored by ISOTIS research Yvonne Anders (Free University of Berlin) and colleagues, published in the British Educational Research Journal. The study analyses the effects of both learning environments on children's grammatical and vocabulary development. Read abstract

"Biographical research in the UK: Profiles and perspectives" is the title of a book chapter by ISOTIS researcher Lyudmila Nurse (University of Oxford) and colleague, included in the recently released "Handbuch Biographieforschung" (Handbook of Biography Research). Read more



• The ISOTIS team will participate in an invited symposium at the 2018 conference of the Special Interest Group on “Learning and Development in Early Childhood” (SIG 5) of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instructions (EARLI). The conference will be held from August 29th to 31st in the Free University of Berlin. "Tackling educational inequalities through promising and evidence-based interventions around Europe" is the theme of the symposium chaired by ISOTIS coordinator Paul Leseman. ISOTIS researchers will also address related topics. Read more

• "ISOTIS: the mothers’ story of inequality and otherness in contemporary Europe: bringing up children in low income, immigrant and ethnic minority families” is the theme of the panel discussion presented by ISOTIS research Lyudmila Nurse (University of Oxford) and other colleagues of the project, at the midterm conference of the European Sociological Association, in Łódź, on September 17-18th. The ISOTIS team will be presenting findings from the interviews aimed at parents on their experiences related to children’s education and upbringing, focusing on biographical aspects.  Read more 

Join us!



Newsletters will be released at least twice a year. Stay tuned!

Visit us on

Facebook   LinkedIn   Twitter

Contact us at 

If you would like to contribute to this newsletter, please contact us.

ISOTIS: Giving voice to a diverse and inclusive European society.
Share your experiences! Participate!


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 727069.