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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.3 Preventing early leaving from education and training (ELET)

Last update: 7 January 2021
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  1. National strategy
  2. Formal education: main policy measures on ELET
  3. Addressing ELET through non-formal and informal learning and quality youth work
  4. Cross-sector coordination and monitoring of ELET interventions

National strategy

The first of the national initiatives in Early School Leaving (ELET), is the Organic Law 8/2013, December 9th, for the improvement of educational quality (LOMCE) (Ley Orgánica 8/2013, de 9 de diciembre, para la mejora de la calidad educativa, LOMCE), in which it introduces the new Basic Vocational Training[1], whose first year of implantation was the school year 2014-2015[2]. Basic VT has been conceived as an alternative way for high school students to be eligible for a medium-grade education. With the aim of achieving a greater integration of the youth in the educational system, the Government promulgated, in 2015 a Royal Decree so that those students who during the school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 obtain a degree of basic VT acquire the degree of CSE (Compulsory Secondary Education) (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (ESO) without the need to pass the external test.

In order to agree with the training agents and the institutions a specific program of actions, the Plan for the Reduction of ELET (Plan para la Reducción del AET) is being carried out, during the period 2014-2020. The Plan aims to respond to one of the strategic objectives set out in the Strategic framework-Education & Training 2020. The Plan establishes the priority strategic lines in which the territorial action plans and participating institutions should be focused, either wholly or partially.

The Plan for the Reduction of ELET focuses on young people between the ages of 18 and 24, and the measures carried out in the framework of this programme, and more recently within the framework of the LOMCE, can be categorised as prevention, intervention and compensation measures. However, this programme does not cover all activities and all forms of collaboration between the Ministry and the Autonomous Regions in this area, and also counts with an assessment mechanism in order to evaluate the success of the followed strategy (Eurydice Report, 2014:53).

However, since a new educational law has been approved in November 2020, called LOMLOE (Ley de Orgánica de Mejora de la LOE) and will probably come into force in 2021, it is very likely that some issues related to ELET in Spain may suffer some changes. For instance, this law eliminates optative subjects in CSE so all students study the same contents until they are 16, unifying the national level of the high schoolers and postponing important irreversible career choices until they are more mature. Furthermore, this law also introduces the teacher’s opinion as the main criteria when it comes to the possibility of repeating grades, when, with the LOMCE, it only depended on the grades obtained by the student.  The hope is that this will help reduce the ELET as students feel more motivated and their effort and not only their grades are taken into account.

The National Program of Reforms of Spain 2019 (Programa Nacional de Reformas de España 2019, PNR)) establishes in its Objective 4 on education, actions directed to the reduction of the AET. The main measures introduced in the PNR are, in addition to the abovemetioned Plan, the gradual implantation of the Education Law in the different stages of the educational system, as well as the the Royal Decree 293/2016, 15th of July, which establishes the thresholds of income and family patrimony and the amounts of the scholarships and grants to study for the academic year 2019-2020 (Real Decreto 430/2019, de 12 de julio[3]

For its part, the Educational Support Project (Proyecto Apoyo Educativo), by the National Center of Innovation and Educational Research (Centro Nacional de Innovación e Investigación Educativa, CNIIE)), coordinates the special educational attention to those students who present special education needs so they can achieve the maximum possible development of their personal capacities and, in any case, the Objectives established in general for all students.. These needs can be specific learning difficulties, high intellectual capacities, late entry into the educational system or personal conditions.


Formal education: main policy measures on ELET

The development of the Education Law LOMCE has led to introducing, starting from the academic year 2017-2018, the implantation of the new itineraries of 3rd and 4th academic years of Compulsory Secondary Education, which implies to unfold several subjects; A measure that contributes to the reduction and prevention of ELET, by reducing the number of students per teacher and allowing a more personalized teaching style which manages to reduce the number of students who repeat a year, one of the problems leading to the ELET. The Autonomous Regions develop their own action plans in the field of ELET [4]and are being especially active in supporting government measures in the area of ELET[5]. In turn, those Autonomous Regions that have achieved greater progress in the fight against ELET are those in which there has been a greater implementation of the Initial Professional Qualification Programs (IPPP) (Programas de Cualificación Profesional Inicial (PCPI)), precursors of the basic VT.

Second-Chance Programs are included in the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan in Spain (Plan de Implantación de la Garantía Juvenil en España), integrated into The Strategy Of Entrepreneurship And Young Employment (Estrategia de Emprendimiento y Empleo Joven). They are intended for 16-25-year-olds with special difficulties in joining the labour market as a result of early leaving of studies and are inserted among the measures aimed at improving employability within the aforementioned Plan [6]. In March 2016, the Spanish Association of Second Chance Schools (E2O) (Asociación Española de Escuelas de Segunda Oportunidad (e2o)) was created, which brings together the main Second-Chance Schools through their respective foundations to coordinate efforts and share experiences.[7]


Addressing ELET through non-formal and informal learning and quality youth work

Regarding measures to prevent ELET through informal and non-formal education, the Eurydice report (2014:60) states that Spanish students receive educational support outside the classroom from members of the teaching staff, boosting learning and school performance, thereby improving students’ social integration. However, measures as concrete as these have not been implemented by top-level authorities, as its functions are more general, in order to frame the education system. In fact, specific actions have been carried out by sub-national and local entities, as they have also educational competences preventing ELET, such as “monitoring the fulfillment of the compulsary education” (art. 25.2n of the Law 7/1985), in the case of the local bodies.

Here are various examples of proyects from a sub-national level:

- Castilla La-Mancha – Plan for the Educational Success and ELET Prevention (Plan de Éxito Educativo y Prevención del Abandono Escolar Temprano): This regional plan will be composed of 6 different plans to tackle ELET, which will start progressively from November 2018 onwards. The initial budget will be of 14M, 4 given by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training through the Inter-regional Compensation Funds, and the other 10 will be sponsored by the European Social Fund (ESF). One of the six different programms, Participa-S, tackles the problem of early leaving through non-formal and informal education. It funds Associations of Mother and Fathers of Students (AMPAS), local city councils and other NGOs to strengthen basic competences and language skills of the students outside school hours. Moreover, the programme Actualiza-T which will work on the education from another point of view, as it will further educate the teachers of the different centers to prevent ELET.

- Catalonia – “New Opportunities” Programme (Programa “Nuevas Oportunidades”): This programme is targeted at young people, from 16 years old to 24 years, who do not own any degree. The programme offers a flexible schedule for the youngsters who seek to enter the labour market or want a formation in basic and transversal competences. The results of Nuevas Oportunidades in the years 2015-2017 were very positive, as 263 youngsters found a job and 861 returned to the education system, out of the almost 3,000 participants.  

- Region of Murcia – Strategy for the Educational Sucess 2020 (Estrategia para el Éxito Educativo. Objetivo 2020): This strategy aims to tackle ELET and scholar absenteeism by implementing over 50 measures in all cycles of compulsary education (ISCED 0-2). The intervention measures offer alternative education and promoting vocational training, as well as innovative actions such as peer tutoring and the creation of mobile apps to give personalized orientation to the yougsters. Through this strategy, the Region of Murcia reduced ELET rate in 4% in 2017, and continues to decrease the  figure in 2018.


Cross-sector coordination and monitoring of ELET interventions

Within the framework of the Plan for the reduction of ELET, the Autonomous Regions inform all the activities in progress and, together with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, they carry out the monitoring and evaluation of the program. The Sectoral Education Conference (Conferencia Sectorial de Educación) and the Spanish working Group "ET 2020" (Grupo de trabajo español "ET 2020") are responsible for overseeing actions related to early school dropout[8].

The set of measures in the field of ELET co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) together with the Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function[9], will be evaluated as thematic Evaluation within the Strategic Plan of Programming of the ESF 2014-2020[10].

1] Training curriculum of basic VT.

[2] Royal Decree 127/2014, 28th of February, which regulates specific aspects of the Basic Vocational Training of the teaching of vocational training of the educational system, fourteen basic professional titles are approved, their basic curricula are fixed and It modifies the Royal Decree 1850/2009, 4th of December, on issue of academic and professional titles corresponding to the teachings established in the Organic Law 2/2006, 3rd of May, of Education. (Real Decreto 127/2014, de 28 de febrero).

[3] It has scholarships and grants to the study of annual periodicity aimed at eliminating obstacles of socioeconomic order to allow a continuation of study for those young people with capacities and interest in the studies, furthermore to encourage and to promote the effort of obtaining satisfactory academic results.

[4] Regional Plan for the Prevention of Absenteeism and Dropout in the autonomous region of Cantabria (Plan Regional de Prevención del Absentismo y el Abandono Escolar en la Comunidad Autónoma de Cantabria).

[5] The Autonomous Communities participate in the Elaboration Of The National Program Of Reforms of Spain 2019 (Programa Nacional de Reformas de España 2019), suggesting measures of reform and details on future actions envisaged in the framework of their competencies.

[6] Page 26 of the Youth guarantee implementation Plan in Spain (Plan de Implantación de la Garantía Juvenil en España).

[7] Second-Chance Schools operate within the framework of formal education and usually act locally in the form of foundations, participating in programs financed by local, regional and national administration. See example in: Second-chance schools in Gijón (Principado de Asturias)

[8] From the meetings of the Working Group comes the Spanish report on the European and Spanish educational objectives of the Education and Training Strategy 2020. (Informe español sobre los Objetivos educativos europeos y españoles de la Estrategia Educación y Formación 2020).

[9] Included in ESF Programmes such as the Operational Programme For Employment, Training And Education, (Programa Operativo de Empleo, Formación y Educación) whose actions focus on the prevention of AET.

[10] Pages 50-52, description of the evaluation to be carried out, with data on the evaluating department, programs of the FSE to evaluate, evaluation criteria and methodologies employed.