What does it mean when we speak of “school failure”?

Every year, approximately 100 000 young adults leave the French educational system without a diploma. The consequences of such early withdrawals are dramatic as the absence of a diploma translates to unemployment and unstable employment. Since 2008, the government has made the fight against school failure a national priority in the realm of education.

How to define school failure?

According to the CNESCO (National Council for School System Evaluation), school failure can be defined as the “discontinuation of studies before the completion secondary schooling”.

School failure is a process which follows multiple steps:

  1. Early academic difficulties which emerge from primary school;
  2. Behavioral problems which manifests itself during primary school and more intensively during secondary school;
  3. More and more frequent absences;
  4. School drop-out, usually at the end of secondary school or more generally during high school.

How many school drop-outs are there in France?

Numerous indicators exist to measure the amount of school drop-outs. In France, we use the rate of students leaving school without any diploma as a measure of reference. This number indicates the number of teenagers older than 15-year-old that have left the educational system during the year without a diploma (except middle school certificates).

In 2015, 13% of teenagers had withdrawn from school without a diploma, which represents 100 000 school drop-outs in France.

How to prevent school failure?

Given the severity of the phenomenon and to act more effectively, preventing school failures has become a priority since 2015. This national movement translates into various measures deployed in every academic establishment: detecting tools and sponsoring, training professionals in the educational field, parental implication in the student’s academic progress, tailored programs based on the student’s needs, reorientation facilitated, etc.

How to fight against school failure?

Once the teenager at risk of dropping out has been detected, a host organization assists him in the elaboration of his project and supports him in his endeavors to facilitate and encourage his return to school, assure his academic levels is equivalent to the one of his pupils and/or enable him to find employment. The most well-known strategies are the networks of second chance schools, establishments dedicated to facilitate the return to school or the EPIDE (Establishment for employment insertion)