In the framework of the AER Committees’ Autumn Plenary Sessions, from 2-4 November (Hampshire-UK), the working group on schol dropouts met to share the findings from the Erasmus+ JET-CD project on combatting school dropouts. Participants in particular discussed the actions implemented in Hampshire.
Identifying the roots of the problem
Quite interestingly surveys amongst both students and teachers, found diverging views on the most important factor preventing students dropping out of school. Students generally considered the quality of education (25, 9%) and the teachers’ efforts (20,4%) as the most important factor while “classmates and the atmosphere in the class” and “other” ranked equally (16,7%).
Teachers in turn attributed most weight to other factors (28,6%), closely followed by individual support from adults at school and the quality of education (23,8%). Interviews also allowed to identify reasons for not dropping out. Unsurprisingly the main reason remains the perspective of potential further studies and a good job. But other reasons include good classmates and a good clasroom environment, teachers who are interested and engaged with pupils, high quality professional training and support from adults at school.
Causes for dropouts include various elements such as socioeconomic background, lifestyle and psychological problems, the lack of meaning for the future, and in terms of education wrong choices of programmes, the grade system, the importance of theory in school curricula and the fact school is considered boring and monotonous.
The project therefore also asked interviewees to suggest solutions to combat school dropouts and re-engage pupils. Personal contact and the possibility of finding someone who can motivate the individual pupil was repeatedly mentioned as a key element. More practice, less theory and the possibility to choose from more options were also underlined. Other elements included a structured everyday life, social belonging and well being, basic security outside the school in terms of economy and housing and improved career guidance services.
This is why cross-sectoral approaches are currently being developped by the project and shared within the AER network.
The meeting documents are available here: