Network Convenors: Anton Florek and Sara Romiti
The 3P Network was established in 2006 during the Fort Lauderdale ICSEI annual conference in order to serve as a professional practice and research network for those engaged in the policy determination, strategic planning and delivery of publicly funded services for children and young people; in short, those working in the systemic space between central government and schools often called “the middle tier” or “the grey zone”.
3P stands for Politicians (people engaged in politics, whether elected or appointed at local or national level) Policymakers (people involved in the formulation of educational and social policies) and Practitioners (teachers, school leaders, local administrators).
More broadly the network exists for politicians, professional officers, administrators and advisers whose role it is to support the strategic and political determination of policy and, subsequently, manage the delivery of that policy on behalf of the communities for whom they work. We refer to them as public service practitioners, i.e. those managing policy, administration, providing professional development and training, consultancy, guidance and advice to the delivery system. They work on developing leadership and practice in “local” government, colleges, schools, early years settings and with other strategic and operational networks and stakeholder organisations engaged in improving the educational outcomes for children and young people.
The focus of the 3P Network
Over the years, the focus and purpose of the 3P Network has changed in repose to the increasingly complex context of public service delivery and the maturation of ICSEI into a global school effectiveness and improvement community of practice. Now, almost every ICSEI network includes a consideration of policy determination and, consequently, the importance of close collaboration with those charged with working ‘in the middle” in order to mediate national policy imperatives into practical classroom practice.
Consequently, the 3P Network today aims to provide a global “learning space” for all who are active in the strategic planning and delivery of education and youth services from the early years to post-school transition. We no longer focus on specific roles in systems but rather on functions and delivery which reflect the particular challenges and opportunities created by the individual features of respective national schooling systems. We define functions as: facilitating change; brokering information and resources; linking people; promoting and nurturing alliances and partnerships; and developing leadership at all levels in the education and wellbeing system, whatever the actual governance and delivery arrangements on the ground.
Collaboration and activities
An important aspect of the work of the 3P Network is to share information about what is happening in the wide variety of systems that are represented by the ICSEI membership. Traditionally, most of it would be in English but we encourage our members to share important reflections in other languages in the shape of summaries (if available) or one of the other world languages. We aim to increasingly make use of social media, Google translate and other readily available software and communication technologies so that mother tongue is no longer a barrier to global thinking and the sharing of professional practice.
Since its inception, the 3P Network has regularly hosted symposia at the ICSEI annual conferences, including joint symposia with other ICSEI networks when the focus for discussion has overlapped.
In 2019, during the ICSEI conference in Norway, the network offered two connected symposia on the theme ‘Connecting Worlds and Joining Agendas: Positive Engagement for Future Learning’. Our premise is that schools should prepare children and young people to be active learners, making sense of the world around them and becoming confident, resilient and contributing local and global citizens.
However, in a world which is increasingly fraught with social, economic and political challenges; in which turbulence and unpredictable events are no longer exceptional, we believe that the purpose of schools and schooling needs to be re-examined.
This focus on future schooling or classrooms of the future is a current “big question“ activity which preoccupies the network and those who participated in our symposia in Norway, have asked that we continue this discussion at the 2020 ICSEI conference in Morocco.
3P Network members also collaborate outside the ICSEI annual conferences. Over the years, we have shared ideas via virtual web-based meetings and discussions, contributed to local events organised by individual members or their employers, written articles together and asked for feedback on ideas and initiatives during the 12-month period in between respective ICSEI congress gatherings.
Finally, although the 3P Network is essentially rooted in the applied rather than the research domain, its activities have occasionally resulted in more formal outcomes such as the 2012 publication by a team of 3P Network participants of ‘Educational Policy in an International Context. Political Culture and Its Effects’, edited by Boudewijn van Velzen and Karen Louis (Pallgrave MacMillan, NY).
Strategic adviser, The Staff College
Sara Romiti, Ph.D.
Researcher, National Institute for the Evaluation of the Educational System