On this page
On this page
Prevention and reduction of school dropout is a major focus of national and European educational policies alike. This being so, France has signed on to the European strategy combating early school leaving, with the aim of reducing numbers of young “dropouts” to below 10% by 2020 and halving the number of young people leaving the education system each year with no qualifications.
In order to achieve these aims, the Minister of National Education implemented an action plan countering school dropout, “Tous mobilisés pour vaincre le décrochage scolaire” (Everyone mobilised against the school dropout), in 2014. The plan is closely supervised and based on cross-ministerial work, with the Ministries of Labour, Agriculture, Health and Overseas France in particular, as well as cooperation with local authorities, associations working in the field of education, and families (of pupils) and representatives of the professional world.The plan and its measures are still on-going.
Among other things, it draws on data produced by ministerial research departments: the Centre for Studies and Research on Qualifications (CEREQ – Centre d'études et de recherches sur les qualifications), under the co-supervision of the Ministries of Education and Labour, and the Ministry of National Education’s Department of Evaluation, Forward-Looking Analysis and Performance (DEPP – Direction de l'évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance). The plan has 5 focus areas:
- Mobilisation of teaching teams
- Development of social ties
- Partnership between stakeholders
- Implementation of the right to return to training
- Creation of new reception schemes
Territorial authorities, Regions most of all, play a key role in prevention of school failure, above all since regional competences in the areas of school dropout and vocational guidance were increased by the Law of 5 March 2014 bearing on training, employment and social democracy, and the “Professional Future” law (Avenir professionnel) of 5 September 2018. (Regional Public Guidance Service (SPRO - Service public régional de l'orientation). See Chapter 3 “Employment and Entrepreneurship”)
- Circular no.2011-028 of 9 February 2011 on combating school dropout
- Decree no.2014-1454 of 5 December 2014 bearing on vocational training of young people leaving the educational system with no professional qualification.
- Law n° 2014-288 of 5 March 2014 bearing on training, employment and social democracy, and the “Professional Future”
- Law« Avenir professionnel » of 5 September 2018".
Formal education plays a key role in the “Everyone mobilised against school dropout” plan, in particular due to the fact that teachers are in a position to detect pupils experiencing difficulties.
A training programme on prevention and detection of early signs of dropout was organised for teaching staff, who had already been made aware of the importance of teamwork and working with parents. “School dropout advisors” acting under the aegis of school heads were added to school staff (Circular no.2013-035 of 29 March 2013).
Other measures contained in the plan were implemented by the Ministry of National Education including:
- Creation of a body of National Education psychologists;
- Organisation of “educational alliances” bringing together a range of stakeholders, including parents, and coordinating interventions by various professionals in the field of education and external partners;
- Setup of “parent spaces”, consisting of regular meetings with parents, particularly those whose children are in danger of dropping out of school;
- Implementation of an “Opening the school to parents for successful integration” scheme, designed for allophone pupils and aiming to develop French-language acquisition;
- Annual organisation of “Perseverance Week” at all local education authorities*, providing an occasion to promote preventive actions and schemes implemented in schools (*the local education authority is the Ministry of National Education’s reference administrative district);
- Development of school/company actions;
- Creation of information centres for 16-25 y/o who have left the school system and wish to resume their education: website reviensteformer.fr and hotline.
Early school leavers
Lower and upper secondary school students who are in major difficulty and have turned their backs on their schooling or risk dropping out can be temporarily placed in the remedial scheme, which provides temporary reception adapted to their needs. The scheme, which has existed since the 1990s, helps counter school dropout.
According to the annual report produced by the Department of Evaluation, Forward-Looking Analysis and Performance (DEPP – Direction de l'évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance) on “Les pratiques d’ enseignement et d’ apprentissage en dispositif relais” (Teaching and learning practices in remedial schemes) published in 2018, “in 2016-2017, there were 9,400 stays in all: 6,200 in remedial classes and 3,200 in remedial workshops.
For further information on prevention of school dropout, see the 2017 Eurydice report “Tackling early leaving from education and training in Europe”.
The “Everyone mobilised against school dropout” plan also mobilises stakeholders in non-formal education, which combats school dropout through pedagogical measures and quality youth work. Such partnerships with stakeholders in non-formal education and their initiatives are not systematically listed by the public authorities.
These partner associations receive public subsidies from ministries and territorial authorities, Regions in particular, which participate in implementation of policies designed to reduce school dropout. As an example, the Ile-de-France Region subsidised the ZEP (Zone d’ Expression Prioritaire) association, an association of journalists that lends support to young people in the field of media literacy and helps school dropouts by running writing workshops to encourage young people to speak out about their personal, academic or material problems.
In addition, since 2010, the Ministry of National Education has also worked in partnership with the Fondation de France, France’s leading philanthropic network, to combat school dropout. The Foundation is an independent private institution receiving no public subsidies, which finances associations and services of general interest. In the context of its partnership with the Ministry of National Education, the Foundation has supported new pedagogical approaches based on 3 principles:
- Adaptation of alternative teaching methods to develop a taste for and pleasure in learning;
- Mobilisation of parents and families in the context of their children’s education;
- Implementation of methods of organisation and governance of collaborative institutions where decisions are taken in consultation with pupils.
The “Everyone mobilised against school dropout” plan is a multi-partner and cross-sectoral initiative, promoted and coordinated by the Ministry of National Education and mobilising a variety stakeholders, including ministries, local authorities, institutions, public operators, associations and companies. Such mobilisation is given concrete expression by a range of initiatives and the creation of structures and tools including platforms for monitoring and supporting “dropouts”. It is a tool for "coordinating all local actors involved in the phases of identification, accompaniment and monitoring of young peoples who have left the training system with no qualifications or skills.”
“Dropout” monitoring and support platforms
Such platforms are a way of coordinating local stakeholders in the training, guidance and integration of young people. They aim to provide rapid personalised answers to any young person over 16 years old who has left the education system unqualified and with no professional certification. They are coordinated by regional authorities (Chief Education Officers, Regional Prefects and Presidents of Regional Councils). Such platforms include Information and Guidance Centres (CIOs – Centres d’Information et d’Orientation) and local missions that receive and inform young people. (For information on CIOs and local missions, see Youth Wiki 3.4 Career Guidance and Counselling).
Platforms may bring in the following interest parties to assist their operation (non-exhaustive list):
- Actors in education: schools, school heads, etc.;
- Actors in employment: local missions, Pôle Emploi (Job Centres), training bodies, companies, employers organisations, etc.;
- Actors in healthcare: social workers, representatives of associations, child welfare services, etc.;
- Actors in youth volunteering schemes: Civic Service Agency (see Youth Wiki 2.2 Administration and governance of Youth Volunteering: main actors).
A guide on implementing platforms has been drawn up: Guide des Plates-formes de suivi et d'appui aux jeunes en situation de décrochage (Guide to platforms for monitoring and support of early school leavers).
The French Youth Guarantee
The Youth Guarantee (Garantie Jeunes) scheme, is intended for young people from under 16 to 25 y/o with few or no qualifications, who are not at school, undergoing a training course or employed – in other words, early school leavers; it operates in complementarity to all the other measures introduced to prevent school dropout.
The Youth Guarantee limits insecurity among young “dropouts” and is designed to put young people in situations of major precarity on the road to self-sufficiency, providing them with support in their socio-professional integration. In addition, the Youth Guarantee, which is also a multi-partner cross-sectoral scheme acts in complementarity, largely due to its target group (age bracket) of 16-25 y/o, while school dropout prevention schemes are mostly intended for younger people, primary and lower and upper secondary schoolchildren in particular.