The history of LI and its management system has developed over 4 main stages.
1. Lauaxeta Ikastola was founded in 1977 in response to a growing social demand for the provision of education in the Basque language, and has progressively incorporated innovative educational and management practices to meet the demands of Society. The priorities in the initial start-up period (1977-87) were to obtain the necessary licences and permits from the relevant authorities, and to gain and ensure credibility for an education project in the Basque language. In the course of these 10 years, the student intake increased from 150 to 1,450, and the number of teachers rose from 9 to 75.
2. In the second stage (1988-93), the educational innovation projects began to shape a specific and important identity for the Centre. Improvement milestones reached during this period include: English classes from 6 years-old, English and Basque language summer courses, classroom-based early learning methods (from 4 years-old) of reading and writing using computers, the deployment of IT applications in all classrooms, education for leisure, etc. At the same time, the concept of a management team for LI with a high profile in terms of both management and educational innovation was identified.
3. In the light of these achievements, and as a result of strategic reflection, the initial part of the third stage (1996-2000 / 2000-04 / 2004-08) was characterised by the commitment of LI to an education project based on values, the all-round lifelong development of the individual and on renewing the Centre’s infrastructure. Additionally, after initial contacts with Euskalit, the management team decided to undergo training in the management of Excellence (EFQM Excellence model), with a view to bringing about “an innovation in management to manage innovation”. To do so, a customised management by processes system was designed and deployed to guarantee the coherence and quality of our actions. Subsequently, recognition in the form of the various social awards and accolades given to our education project and the improvement in both customer (parents and pupils) and people satisfaction ratings have been a direct consequence of deploying the Vision of LI in the 2000-04 Strategy Plan. In this period, LI was awarded the Basque Government “Silver Q-for-Quality” (2001), received two honorary mentions from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (2001 and 2002), the Basque Government “Gold Q for Quality” in 2003, EQA Finalists in 2004 and 2006 received the accolade of “Best Education Centre in Spain” in 2005 and 2006 from the Spanish national newspaper “El Mundo”, and finally they have been recognized with the following prizes: Prize Winner for Management Processes & Facts 2007, and EFQM Excellence Award Winner 2007.
4. The Strategic Plan 2004 -08, and 2008-12 have been directed towards Social Responsibility and Innovation Management. The Process System has been restructured to enable us to manage our activities and organisational results more effectively, to increase the participation of our people and to improve their competencies.
Since the Centre was founded, commitment to innovation has been a trademark of LI. To anticipate Society’s needs and adapt our activities to them is a priority area for us, and resultant actions are taken on three fronts: the education project itself, the use of ICTs and quality management.
One of the outcomes of this process is that, in 2007, the EEA Assessor Team scored our level of excellence within the band of 750-800 points. Some of the key elements highlighted by the team in their feedback report are quoted below:
“LI organisation very well ahead in the road to excellence. Their general performance is exceptional and we had hechance to evidence that clearly. Especially LI performance in the following 3 areas has been comprehensively evidenced that is at an excellent standard.
- Management by processes and fact.
- Results orientation.
- Leadership and constancy of purpose”