STEP is in the unique position of being able to straddle research, policy and practice. We are based within the University of Edinburgh, Institute of Education Teaching and Leadership, we receive support from Scottish Government’s Learning and Equalities Directorates and we host the Traveller Education Network (TENET), which has membership from the majority of Scotland’s local authorities. Our aim is to exploit this unique position for the benefit of mobile communities – to achieve this we have developed rigorous approaches to working with our many stakeholders.
An approach to partnerships with education providers
STEP’s strategy is to provide maximum positive impact for mobile communities throughout Scotland. It does this by responding to real issues, identified by families and practitioners, at local levels. We seek out strategic partnerships to work together and identify solutions, and finally, we disseminate the results on a national scale.
Forming strategic partnerships with local authorities and other agencies is central to the success of our work. We approach partnerships in three stages:
The local authority or group identifies a key challenge to their practice or STEP identifies local practice, which has potential to be shared to improve delivery of services nationally.
STEP works in partnership with the authority or group to create and test a model of practice, drawing on additional knowledge and skills where necessary, and identifying the necessary resources, as appropriate.
Resulting solutions, outcomes or outputs are shared with local authorities throughout Scotland and modified to meet local contexts, ensuring maximum impact.
An approach to partnerships with communities
STEP has co-produced a model for working with communities in partnership with groups who participated in recent projects. The model is iterative with overlapping elements.
Targeted engagement recognising culture and difference
Shared identification of needs
Creative and multimodal consultation methods
Informed by research
Collaborative planning, identification of issues and design
Creative participative methods
Shared values and outcomes
Responsive and evolving
Relevant and transferable content and skills
Mobile community assumes agency
Creative and multimodal approaches
Challenges practice norms
Potential for societal change
Ongoing planning for sustainability