A brief by Tamara Guirao, CAAC Coordinator
As we mentioned last year, every first of June the International Day for the Protection of Children is commemorated. However, the Atlantic Arc Cities have taken a hands-on in the issue, building an URBACT project called PREVENT.
PREVENT is a network of ten European cities that have chosen to gather around the question of early school leaving (ESL). Among the solutions to struggle against this phenomenon, some researchers are pointing out the importance of the role of the parents in the prevention of early school leaving. In accordance with this principle, PREVENT proposes an innovative approach where parents are considered as a key element to reduce early school drop-out.
As reflected by the baseline study, in Nantes, CAAC member and leader of this project, “early school leavers (…) do not benefit fully from the educational services proposed by the city and other stakeholders which could help in the prevention of ESL. The core idea is that prevention of ESL should be built on a more comprehensive approach of the child, taking into account his/hers family environment, neighbourhood, and life in and out of school.”
For Gijon, CAAC vice-presidency, following the same study “from 2002 until present Gijon City Council has developed the project “Trabajo Socioeducativo en el Absentismo Escolar” (Socio Educational Work in the Truancy). This project is coordinated by the Municipal Foundation of Social Services and was born by the agreement between the Social Services and Education Counsellors. The main goal of this project is to promote a regular attendance to school of all the students in compulsory age, and especially of those who are at risk of leaving education.” Last January, CAAC held a workshop in Gijon to directly work with local stakeholders preparing the Plan.
One of the major activities of the first project phase of the PREVENT network has been the mapping and sharing of good practices related to parental involvement in measures and processes to prevent early school leaving, accompanied by structural indicators. The mapping work done by cities has been underpinned by a serious ambition to find and disseminate actions, projects and policies.