Policy dialogue

Every country in the world needs a high quality school system that creates young people who are able to:

  • live and work in a globalised economy
  • use their knowledge, skills and values to contribute responsibly locally and globally

Young people who receive this high quality education contribute to the future stability and prosperity of our global society. The British Council believes that by identifying the principles upon which success has been built in the rich variety of education systems around the world, we allow policy makers to reflect on, and ultimately make changes to, their educational practice thus improving outcomes for young people.

The importance, therefore, of creating opportunities for international dialogue for policy makers cannot be overstated.  

Amongst many themes of interest, the British Council has currently identified four which are of concern to educators around the world. 


Inclusion, as one of our international partners Rana Ismael in Lebanon puts it, is the very basis of education. Understanding how a child with additional needs learns is an important contribution to understanding learning itself.

This strand of our policy dialogue work is aimed at building an international network of change agents dedicated to ensuring that educational policy and practice work together to give children with a range of additional needs access to, and engagement with, educational opportunities. 

School Leadership

In order to achieve excellence in education you need strong leadership. The governing bodies of education UK have all done a great deal of work in recent years defining leadership and putting in place programmes to ensure that schools in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the leaders they need to deliver the education that young people deserve.

This strand of the programme uses that experience to engage in dialogue, designed to improve school education in a local context.

Quality Assurance

Once you have defined what quality education looks like in a given context, you need a robust measurement system to ensure that schools are delivering to their best ability, in a world where there are always new challenges.

Measurement is sometimes a controversial subject, but getting it right is critical to improving education. This strand of the programme uses the lessons learned in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, sometimes quite hard lessons. Its aim is to give participants access to a diversity of views in order to help them to establish systems of measurement that ensure that quality is identified, encouraged and nurtured.

Deep learning skills

In a changing world the skills that young people need is continually evolving. A global economy puts and emphasis on some new hard skills in disciplines like Information Technology, and new manifestations of soft skills like networking and intercultural dialogue.

This strand of the programme asks some important questions. What will the future look like? And what skills will be most valuable in the workplace of tomorrow?


These are areas in which the countries of the UK have a powerful story to share with the world, about the challenges we have faced and the expertise we have developed to address these challenges. They are areas which we know are of concern around the world and where, in turn we have much to learn from sharing experience with our international contributors. It is this exchange of ideas that form the basis of our Policy Dialogue workshops and training sessions throughout the world and the study visits to the UK that we facilitate for international contacts. 

Keep up-to-date with our schools Policy dialogue programme on Twitter.