Working group on Early School Leaving launches European Toolkit for Schools

Image: Shutterstock/ Jovan Mandic

A school is one institution that can tackle early school leaving, but it cannot work in isolation; this is a key message from the European Commission's ET2020 Working Group on School Policy. This month we celebrate the launch of the European Toolkit for Schools, designed to help explore and address factors both inside and outside the school that influence children’s engagement and success.

Following two years of work with government representatives and experts from across Europe, and at a time when many countries are still some way from reaching the ET2020 target of reducing early school leaving to below 10%, a new set of policy messages stresses that a whole school approach to early school leaving is needed, in which the entire school community engages in cohesive and collaborative action.

Developing pupils and teachers

According to the policy messages, the most effective way to prevent early school leaving (ESL) is to ensure that each young person has an equal chance to access and benefit from high quality and inclusive education with engaging and relevant curricula. There also needs to be investment in continuing professional development for school leaders, teachers and other school staff, with a focus on awareness of ESL and on the skills needed to address educational disadvantage and student disengagement.

Strong leadership and community relationships

Strong leadership and governance is needed to promote teamwork and collaborative practices within the school community and also to address the underlying causes of ESL with other stakeholders, such as multi-professional teams and external local services, and families. Education is a responsibility that is shared between parents and the school, and it is essential that this be built on a relationship of mutual trust and cooperation.

The European Toolkit for Schools

This new resource offers concrete ideas for improving collaboration within, between and beyond schools. The toolkit provides examples of measures and resources from many Member States to inspire efforts in providing and supporting effective and high quality early childhood and school education. Over time the Toolkit is expected to grow, with new best practices and experiences being shared among school practitioners and policy makers.

The European Toolkit for Schools will be launched on 15th December and can be found here.