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Cross-sectoral cooperation – mapping up partnerships, building cooperation

Preventing early school leaving and leading back students to education is not only a task of the school. For a complex solution the mapping of peer-professions is necessary. Beyond formal institutions NGO-s, formal and informal groups could also be involved and contributed. Collection of information is a continuous process; while cooperation has to be based on the actual needs.

Teachers have to face plenty of problems that seem to be out of their and also the schools’ responsibility and authority. Reasons behind dropout can vary and the decisions seem to be rather individual. Interventions are based on the capacities of professionals which could be extended by the involvement of outside of the school experts. There are basically two big groups of professionals which can vary according to countries: 

a)    Professionals inside the school, regularly available in the school:

  • speech therapist, special teacher: in case of learning disorders
  • psychologist: in case of behaviour or fit in problems
  • child care specialist, social worker: family disorders, neglecting, health issues, crime prevention, addiction issues, self-helping and peer-groups, communication between school and family
  • free time coordinator: sport, free time, clubs with supervision
  • pedagogical assistant
  • school health visitor, school doctor, nurse: follow up of biological improvements, sexual advisory, contraception info 

These professionals can be employed by different institutes however they usually work in the school close to the teachers and families. They can form the base for a cross-sectoral cooperation. 

b)    Professionals outside of the school and the school system, involved in early school leaving prevention:

  • pedagogical advisory: supporting teachers and parents, special pedagogy, early childhood intervention and development, speech therapy, career advisory, special sport therapy.
  • alternative daily care
  • personal services by social and child care institutions
  • youth care organizations, NGO-s, religious org.
  • health care: home doctor, health visitor, addictology and psychiatric illnesses care,  rehabilitation
  • police, crime prevention: also in school, see e.g. US program D.A.R.E. or school police)
  • juvenile crime rehabilitation
  • local community development groups
  • community cultural centres: free time activities
  • municipality 

To keep at risk students in school the involvement of outside of the school professionals and the integration of methods other than pedagogical are inevitable. Getting to know these experts, learning about each other’s work and a continuous information exchange is crucial during this process. Partnerships and cooperation should be formed on different levels:

a)    regular meetings aiming at getting to know each other’s competencies, types of institutional support possibilities, forming cooperation, problem analyses and solving 

b)    related to a current problem clarifying meetings with different actors, involving all relevant actors concerning the case

c) working group for a current case, all relevant actors involved

User’s guide, equipment:

  • list of professionals available in school (continuously extendable and updated)
  • list of professionals available outside of the school (continuously extendable and updated)
  • case documentation form for cross-sectoral cooperation (for a specific case)

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ESLplus - European Learning Space on Early School Leaving

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