People, groups, and organizations

  • SONO (Steunpunt OnderwijsOnderzoek [Support Point for Education Research]) is a consortium of Flemish researchers for policy-oriented educational research. This consortium consists of a research line committed to research on truancy and it aims to contribute to the optimization of preventive measures against truancy at school. For further reading please consider: Contact: Gil Keppens;
  • “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 FTE 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. The aim of these regional networks is to facilitate cooperation between the different stakeholders and to set up, implement, and evaluate a local action plan. These networks are also a portal for the Flemish government to share and receive information on new (policy) initiatives on the one hand and difficulties in the field on the other. The region coordinators are brought together in an inter-regional intervision group, which meets six times a year. The main goals are to share, create, and update knowledge, and to discuss and work on common themes. No other partners participate in these meetings, with the exception of the Flemish truancy officer. 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 the own initiatives.

Current and upcoming activities and achievements

  • Every year the Ministry of Education publishes data reports on truancy and early school leaving. In 2018 the report about early school leaving will be upgraded with new information and data. The following data will be included:
    • the number of early school leavers that enroll in some form of ‘second change education’ in the years following dropping out;
    • the number of those students that obtain a qualification through this ‘second change education’.
  • A work group, consisting of stakeholders within the regional networks for the “Together against school drop-out” project, developed a procedure that explains and clarifies the roles of different actors when it comes to a warm transition from school to the labour market. The aim of the procedure is to outline the different steps that should be taken to support the student and to clarify the different roles of all parties involved.
  • Since September 1 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 tiered care model in which schools and pupil guidance centers work together and offer pupil guidance, each within their own 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.
  • In 2018 the Minister of Education proposed a decree that allows for the recognition and validation of competences acquired outside regular educational trajectories. Certifying these competences will help pupils in their search for a job, even when they are early school leavers. The Flemish Government attached a first principal approval, allowing further negotiations.
  • A new learning pathway in secondary education – dual learning – should help students that want to combine learning in school and on the work-floor. This will be implemented as an official learning pathway on September 1 2019.

Earlier 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 ID’s of the early school leavers to the PES. The PES verifies if these are registered as either employees 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.
  • Since September 1 2016 there are regional networks “Together against drop-out” (see the menu ‘People, Groups, and Organizations’).
  • Since January 2016 there is a Flemish procedure for the support of pupils who skip classes. The necessary steps and the roles of every stakeholder are written down in this procedure. Since its implementation, the local regions have made arrangements at the local level in line with this procedure. For more information:
  • The Ministry of Education published a website ‘Together Against School Dropout’:
  • Since September 1 2016 the student guidance centers are required to offer guidance when a pupil has missed school for 5 half days.
  • In 2018 the Flemish truancy policy maker published a book about the creation of a bonded school climate. Contact Sarah Neyts:

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 Sarah Neyts ( As the International Network for School Attendance grows, materials will be added to your country’s webpage. Currently, this webpage is updated every three months.

Disclaimer: INSA’s Mission encourages us to disseminate as much readily available information as possible, without judgement. The sharing of this information should not be seen as an endorsement by INSA. Please access and use the information with proper judgement.

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