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,

We are halfway there. As ISOTIS progresses, data that has been collected gains new meaning, and now we face the challenge of integrating voices and experiences into coherent recommendations for practice and policy. This will be one of the main objectives of the plenary conference in Milan, coming up in early December, and the following months of work.

As ISOTIS researchers look to the future, we also consider the reactions and comments we have heard from varied audiences of professionals, researchers and policy makers as we shared our results over the active Summer months. In this newsletter, we highlight some of these activities.

Presentations have addressed how the macro-patterns of educational inequality relate to micro-level processes in home learning environment of the family and the parent-teacher relationship. The personal stories of migrant, Roma and low-income parents, collected through qualitative in-depth interviews, have also been put on the foreground at conferences. Several studies are nearing completion, like the survey among professionals investigating their multicultural beliefs, competences and practices. We are curious what the results will reveal.

In the meantime, a major new task has started: the design, implementation and evaluation of a virtual learning environment to support multicultural and multilingual education at home and in (pre)school. This tool will contribute to the development of the multi/intercultural competences of professionals. The ISOTIS Italian team has built a beautiful digital platform with multiple functionalities to support parents, children and teachers. ISOTIS researchers in several countries are now equipping the platform with multicultural and multilingual activities, information, demonstration videos and much more, in close collaboration with children, parents and teachers. These are exciting times and we look forward to sharing them with you!

Warmest regards,

Paul Leseman, ISOTIS Coordinator



• Preliminary results of the quantitative ISOTIS interviews in ten European countries are now coming to light. These early results seem to indicate that diverse families live in two realities. Turkish and North-African immigrants, Roma and native low-income people are, overall, living well together in the locations where the ISOTIS study is being conducted. They report, on average, low discrimination by other parents and neighbours, reasonable inter-group contact, and positive supportive relations with professionals in education, care and health care at the local level. Immigrant and Roma parents wish to preserve their heritage language and culture, but also agree with the importance of learning the national language and culture. Parents in all groups, including the native low-income group, share the value of recognizing, respecting and celebrating different cultural backgrounds in (pre)primary education. 

However, the experienced discrimination in public discourse, media and social media is high and this negatively affects parents’ wellbeing and feelings of belongingness to the country. The overall positive personal relations with professionals at the local level are a protective buffer against the negative effects of media discrimination on parents’ wellbeing and sense of belongingness. In sum, there seems to be a discrepancy between the reality of everyday life at the local level and the reality of public media discourse.



• How do educational achievements relate to socioeconomic and migration background?  Learn from ISOTIS researcher Jesper Rözer (University of Amsterdam) how children’s test-score differences relate to patterns of inequality in different European countries. This post summarizes findings described in the publication "Inequalities in educational opportunities by socioeconomic and migration background: A comparative assessment across European societies". Read the post and give us your feedback on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter.



• We are happy to announce that the ISOTIS website has now pages in the following languages: Arabic / العربية, Czech / Čeština, Dutch / Nederlands, English, French / Français, German / Deutsch, Greek / ελληνικά, Italian / Italiano, Norwegian / Norsk, Polish / Polski, Portuguese / Português, and Turkish / Türkçe. 

Please, share this news and your thoughts!



• The ISOTIS team met in the University of Milano-Bicocca to discuss the development of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) proposed in the scope of the project. The aim of the VLE is to develop an interactive e-learning environment that can be used by children, parents, teachers and other professionals to support multilingualism, enhance the parent-school partnerships and promote inclusiveness in the classroom. Read more



• ISOTIS researcher Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon) presented findings from the ISOTIS inventory of promising curriculum, pedagogy, and social climate interventions to tackle inequalities in early childhood education and care settings, and primary schools. At the conference “Um mundo em mudança: Desafios para a Psicologia Comunitária e da Saúde”, at the University Institute of Lisbon, Cecília shared that the findings of this work highlight the importance of supporting and valuing the development of the language and cultural heritage of immigrant and ethnic minority students. Read more

• A new Life Chances Inquiry examines the impact that early years education and social policy have on determining children’s life chances. Read more and watch ISOTIS researcher Edward Melhuish (University of Oxford) presenting evidence to support this inquiry to the Education Committee, at the UK Parliament.

• ISOTIS interviewed migrant Arab mothers living in Italy about their parenting experience. ISOTIS researcher Alessandra Mussi (University of Milano-Bicocca) reported at the ESREA conference that the experience of maternity by migrant women can constitute an opportunity to support the integration of the whole family. Alessandra writes “For many of my interviewees, housewives with a limited number of relationships outside  the  domestic context, entry into  the  educational  world marked an important juncture in their lives in Italy:  legitimated in  going  out of  their homes and  interacting  with  teachers  and  others parents thanks to their role as mothers, they start to penetrate the external context - and build  their  first social relationships”. Read more

• The contribution of collaborative work among agencies for inclusive education was discussed by ISOTIS researchers Joana Guerra and Catarina Leitão (University of Coimbra) at the 2º Congresso Internacional de Redes Sociais. They presented examples of successful collaborative work in Portugal, in the scope of the Escolhas Program, which aims to promote social inclusion of children and young people from vulnerable socioeconomical contexts.  Read more

• ISOTIS researcher Hande Erdem (Free University of Berlin) presented on the "Intersection of ethno-cultural and class based identities in educational contexts: The case of Turkish immigrant background parents in Germany" at the Migration Conference. This work is based on the views and experiences on education shared by mothers that were interviewed by the ISOTIS team. Read more

• ISOTIS researchers Herman van de Werfhorst and Jesper Rözer (University of Amsterdam) were involved in the organization of the Educational Inequality Conference, held on 5-6th of July, at the University of Amsterdam. The studies presented focused on how inequalities are created (e.g. in families, or in schools), and on the emergence or effects of institutional arrangements in educational systems. The ISOTIS team conducted presentations during the conference. Read more

• "The mothers' story of inequality and otherness in contemporary Europe: bringing up children in low income, immigrant and ethnic minority families” was the proposed theme of the ISOTIS session at the mid-term conference of the European Sociological Association Research Network 03, on September 17-18The session included personal stories of migrant, Roma and low-income parents collected through qualitative in-depth interviews by ISOTIS researchers. Read more

• ISOTIS participated in the invited symposium Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom at the conference on Cultural Diversity, Migration and Education, organized in Potsdam, Germany. The paper by Paul Leseman (Utrecht University), entitled Home-(pre)school relations in culturally diverse Europe, presented preliminary results of the large-scale interview study among immigrant, Roma and low-income parents in ten European countries.

• The ISOTIS team participated in the 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 team presented the ISOTIS inventories on promising interventions regarding: i. parent and family support programs; ii. inclusive curriculum, pedagogy, and school climate programs; and iii. professional development programs and approaches. ISOTIS researchers were also involved in the symposia "Educational partnerships in ECEC in a context of cultural diversity" and "Family support to foster early childhood development". Read more

• ISOTIS coordinator Paul Leseman (Utrecht University) gave a keynote at the Conference of the German Gesellschaft für Erziehungsforschung in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, entitled Inequality and exclusion in Europe’s education systems: micro and macro perspectives, summarizing findings from different ISOTIS studies.



• “Process quality in Portuguese preschool classrooms serving children at-risk of poverty and social exclusion and children with disabilities” is an article by ISOTIS researchers Joana Cadima (University of Porto), Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon) and Clara Barata (University of Coimbra), published in the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Read more

• "Structural characteristics and process quality in early childhood education and care: A literature review" is an OECD Education Working Paper, authored by ISOTIS researcher Pauline Slot (Utrecht University). Read more

• "Comparative global study of urban spaces to support parents” is a report by ISOTIS partner International Step by Step Association (ISSA), which describes social facilities that can improve the quality of life for children between 0-4 years old. Read more

• "Do children benefit from universal Early Childhood Education and Care? A meta-analysis of evidence from natural experiments", is an article by ISOTIS researcher Thomas van Huizen (Utrecht University), published in the journal Economics of Education Review. Read more

• "TOY for Inclusion toolkit. A step-by-step guide to creating inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Play Hubs for all generations”  provides information to enable the setting-up and running of inclusive play spaces. It is co-authored by ISOTIS researcher Stanislav Daniel (ISSA). Read more



•  Findings from the interviews aimed at parents with a Turkish, North-African, Romani or lower-SES native background, about their views and experiences related to children's education, will be presented at the Early Years Stakeholders conference. ISOTIS researcher Martine Broekhuizen (Utrecht University) will share these findings on November 13. On the same day, ISOTIS researcher Mihaela Ionescu (ISSA) will address the theme "Inclusive and integrated services". Read more

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ISOTIS: Giving voice to a diverse and inclusive European society.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 727069.