Information in the menus below was updated in September 2020. To contribute information that may be of interest to others in your country, please contact your country’s hosts: Gil Keppens (gil.keppens@vub.be) or Sarah Neyts (sarah.neyts@ond.vlaanderen.be).  

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.
  • “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 and difficulties in the field. Each region has its own action plan, and partnership agreements on truancy. Since the September 1 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 the existing coordinators truancy financed by policy entity education and training. The recently started coordinators will enhance the existing platforms and local action plans with their knowledge in the field of ‘wellbeing and care’.
  • The region coordinators of “Together against school drop-out” 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.
  • "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 counseling 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 the students has 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 Fund, will continue until 2022 when its findings will be published. To learn more about the project, please contact co-project leader Lisa Van Quickelberghe.

Current and upcoming activities and achievements

Past activities and achievements

  • SONO (Steunpunt OnderwijsOnderzoek [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 contributde 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 a tool for schools to help schools, youngsters and parents to handle with school non-attendance, especially school refusal. For more information visit the web page of the project
  • 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 is implemented as an official learning pathway on September 1 2019.
  • The Flemish government developed a data loop application in the private space (that’s the space where only schools can invoke their data). This application is a dynamic environment in which schools can analyze their data and put their data against a benchmark of choice. The application will show the data on truancy and absenteeism (for medical reasons). This data loop is extended with a new part in which schools can find the data on truancy and absenteeism for medical reasons in a calendar.
  • The Flemish government developed a data loop application on early school leaving. It is open access, and can be found via this link.
  • The Flemish government and the European Social Fund launched a call for organisations which develop trajectories for pupils in the second and third grade of vocational education and training (bso). More information can be found via this link. The project will run from the first of September 2020 till June 30 2022. The scope of this trajectories is: (1) To motivate youngster to achieve their qualification; and (2) to strengthen youngsters for the next step in their career (higher education, training, labour market…). A trajectory exists of five steps:
    • Identification of pupils at risk of early school leaving;
    • A talk with the pupil about his/her career perspectives;
    • Drawing the action plan of the trajectory;
    • Support during the fulfillment of the trajectory;
    • Support after the next step in their career (after care).
  • Every year the Ministry of Education publishes data reports on truancy and early school leaving. In 2018 the report about early school leaving was upgraded with new information and data. The following data were 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’.
    • other pupil characteristics (gender, last enrolled educational stream).
  • 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 multi-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.
  • 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. For more information visit the web page on the cooperation between the Ministry of Education and the PES
  • Since December 2016 there is an action plan on increase the participation of infants (preschool kids) and enhance the quality of their participation.
  • Since September 1 2016 there are regional networks “Together against drop-out” (see the section ‘People, Groups, and Organizations’).
  • The Flemish government has a partnership with the parent counsel organizations. These parent counsel organizations inform parents about absenteeism and truancy. They organize one or twice a year a debate evening with parents on truancy.
  • 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 (an actualization will be launched in 2019-2020) visit the web page on school absenteeism.
  • 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.
  • The Flemish government has developed a data loop application in the public space. This application is a dynamic environment in which schools and other stakeholders can analyse data. The application shows data on repeating the school year.
  • The Flemish government set up a system of time-out and time-in programmes that are flexible in time and content. They are used for pupils with risk of dropping out because of social, juridical, familial and other reasons.
  • The Flemish government set up a system of educational qualification training for bottleneck occupations. It’s a way the PES helps people to broad the scope of job possibilities.
  • Flanders participated in the Erasmus+ project Guidance and Orientation for Adult Learners.

Helpful links and other resources

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. People, groups, and organisations are separated into ‘for profit’ (fees are charged for services) and ‘not for profit’ (including charities, who may charge no fees or nominal fees for services). Please access and use this information with proper judgement.

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