Information in the menus below was updated in November 2021. To contribute information that may be of interest to others in your country, please contact your country’s hosts: Gil Keppens (email@example.com) or Lana Van Den Berghe (firstname.lastname@example.org).
People, groups, and organizations
Not for profit
- Gil Keppens is awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the FWO (Research Foundation Flanders) to learn about new and emerging ways to analyze school attendance data. It is well known in the literature that intervention of school absenteeism is hindered by the lack of reliable criteria to differentiate between problematic and non-problematic school absenteeism. In this project, Gil aims to fill this gap by applying the relatively new method of optimal matching to search for patterns in the timing, duration, and sequence of school non-attendance. In addition, the project aims to relate these identified patterns in non-attendance to educational outcomes and validate these patterns through a cross-national comparison. In the end, this project aims to propose uniform and standardized criteria for differentiation between problematic and non-problematic absenteeism to inform stakeholders on the timing of intervention and to stimulate meaningful comparisons of school absenteeism across studies and different countries. For further information, please contact Gil Keppens.
- Lana Van Den Berghe is a pre-doctoral researcher and teaching assistant at Ghent University (Department of Special Needs Education) and is working on research entitled: “Connectedness matters: An ecological navigation through the complex landscape of school dropout.” The purpose of this study is to explore the process of early school leaving and good practices (practice-based evidence) for the support of students at-risk. Furthermore, second-chance education is emphasized where students’ (adults) motivation to “take a second chance” is highlighted together with their educational needs. For further information, please contact Lana Van Den Berghe.
- • “Together against school drop-out” is a project implemented on a regional level, more specifically on the level of the Flemish provinces and the Brussels Capital Region. A coordinator is appointed to each region (one per region, six in total). Each coordinator is in charge of a regional network bringing together local stakeholders within all policy domains involved: work, education, and welfare. These regional networks aim to facilitate cooperation between the different stakeholders and to set up, implement, and evaluate a local action plan. These networks are a portal for the Flemish government to share and receive information on new (policy) initiatives and difficulties in the field. Each region has its action plan and partnership agreements on truancy. Since September 2020, the policy entity of wellbeing finances a part-time coordinator for each region (6 in total) for two years. They will work on dropout in primary and secondary education, in tandem with truancy coordinators, financed by the Department of Education and Training. More info here.
- The guidance committee supervising the project “Together against school drop-out” meets six times a year. In this group, the entities of the Ministry of Education cooperate to implement the action plan “Together against school drop-out”. The entities cooperating in this committee are The Department of Education and Training, the Agency of Education Services, and the Control Service of Education. The guidance committee discusses the implementation of all activities and the members keep each other informed about their initiatives.
- "Project PEP TALK! is a project which aims to help disengaged and vulnerable students in vocational education to prepare for the school-to-work or school-to-higher education transition. The project uses individualized counselling sessions to guide students who are still in school but who may be at risk of leaving school early or who may have limited career options. The project is managed by the socialist trade union who, through its knowledge of the labour market, aims to bridge the gap between school life and adult working life. Every session starts with answering questions students have about his or her professional future. The project is about establishing relationships of trust with disengaged pupils and offering information and help - in collaboration with mental health professionals - if needed. The project started in 2016, and thanks to a grant from the European Social Foundation, will continue until 2022 when its findings will be published. More info here or contact Lisa Van Quickelberghe.
Current and upcoming activities and achievements
- The Ministry of Education and the PES (Public Employment Service) invested in data exchange and better cooperation. The Ministry of Education forwards the personal information of the early school leavers to the PES. The PES verifies if these are registered as either employee or as job seekers. If not, the PES actively tries to contact these persons and tries to redirect them to some form of second change education or offers them support in finding a job. An upgraded version of the data reports could be found here.
- The Flemish government developed a data loop application which is a dynamic environment in which shows the data on truancy and absenteeism (for medical reasons). More info here.
- The Flemish government upgraded the data reports on ‘second chance measures’ in Flanders with new information and data. More info here.
- Since September 2020, the Flemish government set up “transition trajectories” for students at risk for dropping out in Flanders. The aim of these trajectories is twofold. First, they will encourage students to successfully complete their educational qualification by offering prospects on the labour market or further education. Second, if students left education, they will ensure sustainable labour options. The project will run until June 2022. More info here.
- In September 2021, the Department of Education and Training started to subsidize organizations (together with the European Social Foundation) to start projects in the context of “dual learning” or “learning and working” to support students to make the transfer from education to the labour market. More info here or here.
- In 2020, the Ministry of Education together with the Department of Youth Welfare reformed and merged the system of “Personal Development Trajectories (POT)” and “Time-out programmes” to the “Needles Flexible Trajectories”. These tailored trajectories are aimed to provide a period of rest for both students and schools when education is difficult. The format of the trajectories, the method and duration are adjusted to the students’ (and schools’) needs. First and foremost, they are used for pupils at risk of dropping out because of social, juridical, familial, and other reasons. More info here.
Past activities and achievements
- Webinar: STOB - Stay On Board: Webinars against school dropout. More information here.
- Webinar: school refusal - between incomprehension and incapacity by Gino Ameye. More information here.
- Webinar: Problematic school absenteeism in the Brussels Capital Region. More info here.
- Webinar: Stress regulation among primary school teachers and pupils. More info here.
- SONO (Steunpunt Onderwijs Onderzoek [Support Point for Educational Research]) was a consortium of Flemish researchers for policy-oriented educational research. This consortium consisted of a research line committed to research on truancy and to contributing to the optimization of preventive measures against truancy at schools. For further reading please consider Steunpunt SONO. Contact: Gil Keppens.
- The researchers of “Scared of the Schoolgate” created from 2017 till 2019 a tool for schools to help schools, youngsters, and parents to handle school non-attendance, especially school refusal. More info here.
- Since September 2018 schools are required to have a pupil guidance and support policy on four topics: (i) learning and studying, (ii) educational career, (iii) preventive health care; and (iv) social and psychological well-being. The measures taken should always be based on an integrated and holistic approach to pupils in these four areas, proceeding from a continuum of care. The continuum of care is a multi-tiered care model in which schools and pupil guidance centres work together and offer pupil guidance, each within their sphere of responsibility. The school is responsible for broad basic care provisions that enhance all pupils’ development and for extended care to pupils for whom the broad basic care provision does not suffice. More info here.
- In 2019 the Flemish government allows for the recognition and validation of professional qualification of competencies acquired outside regular educational trajectories. Certifying these competencies will help pupils in their search for a job, even when they are early school leavers. More info here.
- Since September 2016 the student guidance centres are required to offer guidance when a pupil has missed school for 5 half days. More info here.
- In 2018 the Flemish truancy policymaker published a book about the creation of a bonded school climate. More info here.
- From 2015 till 2018, Flanders participated in the Erasmus+ project Guidance and Orientation for Adult Learners (GOAL). More info here.
Helpful links and other resources
- To contribute information that may be of interest to others in your country, please contact your country’s hosts: Gil Keppens or Lana Van Den Berghe the International Network for School Attendance grows, materials will be added to your country’s webpage. Currently, this webpage is updated every three months.
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