/    /  5. GOVERNANCE

District Planning Boards


Objective: Improving the planification of the school supply according to the territorial needs.


City: Barcelona



The District Planning Boards work in two different spaces. First, a Commission is designed for the whole city to define the School Map of the city. This is replicated for the 10 districts. It gathers representatives of all the sectors including neighbours and families. Its objective is to build up a mid-term prospective for the future and it has a consultive character rather than executive.


Second, technical planning tables are set prior to the setting of educational supply for the following academic year. These planning tables are compounded by policy makers from the districts, technicians of the educational local authority and the educational inspectorate (Catalan Department of Education). These tables carry out a shared analysis of the territorial needs based on data on the school population and the current picture of schooling in each area. In addition, a projection of the supply is submitted for the consideration of participants. The planning tables work on a proposal, that will be approved by the Board of School Principals.


  • The participation of several actors in diagnoses of the supply situation and in the design of plans may increase the acceptance of changes.
  • Collective definition of the needs and the potential solutions may increase their adjustment to the contextual realities.


  • District level proposals may have difficulties to maintain a city level perspective and may be more focused on particular than on general needs.
  • The city level planning may collide with that of the districts and transmit the idea that the District Planning Boards have no real voice in defining the School map neither in the present nor in the future.

Shock Plan against school segregation


Objective: Guaranteeing the detection of vulnerable students, their balanced distribution across the education system and the allocation of compensatory resources to ensure that they have equal opportunities to succeed in education


City: Barcelona



The Shock Plan against Segregation and for Equal Opportunities and Educational Success (SP) has two goals. First, it aims to reduce the concentration of socially disadvantaged students by ensuring a more equitable distribution among schools in the city of Barcelona, including both public and private subsidized schools. Each school must reserve a number of places for vulnerable students, which must be a proportional quote of the total number of vulnerable students living in the reference catchment area. Second, the SP ensures gratuity of access to school activities and educational services to beneficiaries.  It guarantees gratuity of books and materials, excursions, and other supplementary educational activities. School Free Meals are also granted to beneficiaries. 

The SP started in the academic year 2019/20. It has gradually increased its coverage, starting with first grade of preschool education (3 years-old, P3) and lower secondary (12 years-old, ESO1,) in 2019/2020 and adding every year a new school grade. Therefore, in 2020-21 the SP covered 4 grades (1st and 2nd grades of preschool and secondary education: P3, P4, ESO1 and ESO2, for its acronyms in Spanish). 

The balanced distribution of socially disadvantaged students is based on the early identification of vulnerable students before the enrolment process starts. Social Services participate together with educational local services, in this early detection phase.

Once vulnerable children have been detected, the educational local authority contacts their families and informs about the existence of the Shock Plan and the place reserved for the child in case they accept to participate in the programme. The pre-allocation of places is established with the aim of ensuring a balanced distribution of vulnerable children among public and private subsidised schools in each catchment area. Students registering into the system when the regular enrolment process has been closed must present a late application. The local education authority assesses the child’s risk of vulnerability and proposes a school place to the child following the same procedure set for all students at the beginning of the academic course and, therefore, taking into account the balanced distribution of vulnerable students among schools in the area.

Prior to the approval of the plan, high-level bilateral discussions were held with the heads of the municipal Social Services and representatives of the publicly funded private schools’ associations. All public policies of the educational local authority are approved by a Board of School Principals compounded by 6 representatives of the Catalan Department of Education appointed by its Minister, and 4 representatives of the City Council.


Once the Plan had been approved by the Board of Schools Principals, a round of presentations was held among the agents involved: primary and secondary principals’ board, educational services, publicly funded private schools, and specific sessions at the Municipal School Council and at the District Councils, and at the School Guarantees Commissions (where all sectors are represented) to gather impressions prior to implementation.


  • The centrality of the issue of school segregation in the agenda gives it public visibility and may increase the awareness of the several involved actors about it.
  • The Plan is also an opportunity to improve the detection of vulnerable students through the cooperation and coordination of different actors and, more broadly, to introduce a way of working more transversally among all the education actors in the city.



  • Lack of capacity to identify all vulnerable children before school enrolment
  • High implementing costs
  • It may be difficult to retain vulnerable families in highly social class where they feel minoritized.




National Pact against School Segregation


Objective: tackling school segregation in Catalonia with the co-responsabilisation of all the education actors


City: Barcelona


The National Pact against school segregation is a political initiative lead by the Catalan Department of Education and the Catalan Ombudsman and has the support of most of the local governments of municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants, the employers’ association of state-subsidised schools, political parties and representatives of the educational community.


The Pact against school segregation includes 9 areas of action, 30 actions and 189 measures to be implemented over a period of 4 years, covering planning, admissions, school management, financing, etc. However, the importance of the Pact is not limited to the catalogue of interventions it proposes, but rather to the effective promotion of municipal and regional action in the fight against school segregation. Although segregation was already part of the public agenda of many municipal governments, the Pact involves the activation – gradually and at different paces – of many others.


The process to reach the pact have been led by the Catalan Ombudsman Office. This leadership have been of crucial importance due both to its prestige and previous work in the field of school segregation as a children’s right violation and to its partisan independence.

This leadership has counted with the support of many years of research in the field of school segregation coming from research institutions and lobbying organisation. This research has provided strong arguments to policymakers at different levels to push for a broad agreement.


  • The consensus reached by the Pact represents an important advance to develop education policies at the regional and at the local level that prioritise equity and that incorporate all the education actors at each level of governance.
  • The Pact sets a political educational agenda for the next years that has the reduction of school segregation as a priority, and offers specific tools to develop it.



  • Regardless being broad, the consensus reached by the Pact is not absolute. Relevant actors (some families’ associations, unions and political parties) have considered the Pact insufficient and therefore have not undersigned it.
  • Local governments may face difficulties to materialise their interventions if the commitment of the involved actors is not full.



The 2018 “anti-segregation” Council Resolution


strengthening and qualifying the existing school network, with a specific focus on the reduction of segregation phenomenona, alongside with a consistent and rational use of the school geographies under the responsibility of Comune di Milano, with the particular objective of redefining catchment areas.


City: Milan


Principio del formulario

Final del formulario


In 2018, the results of the previous years of study and elaboration by the Education Department, become a Council Resolution that opened the floor to specific thematic projects and actions. This resolution paved the way for a set of measure that have been implemented in the last years and still are (i.e. Open Schools, Segregation and Attractiveness Indexes, Innovative Fornitures) and the involvmente of several actors at different scales (Regional School Offices, Schools, Principals and teachers…).



  • The Council resolution recognizes a in so far neglected issue, school segregation, and provides a framework and an orientation to develop measures and intervention



  • The main risks for the implementation of the guidelines are linked to the regulatory framework of the school’s governance and organizational competencies, which substantially limits the potential of the Local Authority: part of the success of what has been set is dependent on the degree of involvement of other institutions (Regional and Provincial School Offices, School Authorities, Managers and teaching staff), as well as the ability to activate information processes and moral suasion significant to impact on the choice of families. 
  • A further risk is linked to the partial application of the measures indicated, in as much as the impact on the school network (sizing and catchment areas) is never limited to a single area of intervention and can cascade into unforeseen distorting effects. “