Regional reporting and coordinating system for early school leavers in the Netherlands

Short summary

RMC – Regional reporting and coordinating system in the Netherlands

To get a better grip on the decrease and prevention of early school leaving or leaving without any qualification a regional reporting and coordinating system has been introduced in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is divided into 39 RMC regions.

Each RMC region is connected to a municipality that coordinates the reporting and registration of early school leavers and provides opportunities for referral and reinstatement in education in that particular region.

Early school leavers in RMC regions:

The objective of the Regional Reporting and Coordination (RMC) function is to create conditions for young people from 16 years up to the age of 23 in order to achieve the most attainable and most suitable education and/or position in the labour market. Every young person up to the age of 23 must therefore be able to find a suitable place in education or on the labour market.

The core tasks of the RMC region are a comprehensive reporting and registration of early school leavers, referral and relocation of early school leavers, the promotion of good cooperation between all parties in the region that deal with young people up to 23 years of age and the realization of a comprehensive approach with the best suitable route for young people.

The intensive personal approach to early school leaving is now showing results. In the space of ten years, the number of pupils leaving the school without a basic qualification almost halved from 71,000 in 2002 to 22,948  in the 2015-2016 school year. The goal of the government is to reduce the number of early school leavers to less than 20,000 in 2021. This requires creativity and courage and above all good mutual cooperation.

In addition, extra measures will be taken in the coming years to reduce the number of early school leavers. From 2013 onwards, the government will make 140 million euros available annually to prevent students of dropping out without a starting qualification.

Context of good practice

Basic information about the organisation:

Preventing drop out of students is at the core responsibility of the municipality of Gouda in the education department. RMC consultants belong to a team with a joint responsibility for supporting the students from 16 years up till 23 years of age to succeed in school and or work.

RMC has divided the students into two groups:

16 – 18 years and 18 – 23 years due to different privacy laws in the Netherlands that apply when you turn 18 years.

Melanie Darretta works with students in the 16-18 years range and Marlies de Waard works with young adults in the age group of 18-23 years.

Within the framework of the team, the reporting system helps them to get full insight of the students’ school path. The team is led by a regional coordinator Susan Richter with responsibility for staff and management, method and operational development in the region. She provides the consultants weekly with a list of names of the students and young adults who are absent or show a high percentage of truancy so the RMC consultants know who is at risk and who to visit. Consultants use 2/3 of their time to visit students and 1/3 of their time they are in the office and meet with their colleagues. The regional coordinator is very well connected with coordinators all over the Netherlands from the 39 different regions. They get together on a regular basis and exchange experiences and are being informed of new developments on national policies.

Main characteristics of the challenge, description of the target group

The region Gouda is a multicultural region. With young students/adults in all levels of society, high and low educated families, poor and rich, refugees and immigrant families. Preventing drop out and guidance of youngsters to work/learn jobs has been a high priority for the RMC office. They try to have a clear picture of every student/young adult in the region.

From the municipality of Gouda the followings are involved: the school attendant officer, RMC consultant, regional coordinator. From the schools are involved the school leaders, school counsellors, teachers. RMC consultants are connected to social workers, schools and local business as well as to the students and their family to inform students on the possibilities of education and in the labour market where education is provided.
Target groups are young adults and students that have a high percentage of absence and are in the phase of making a choice for vocational education and are at high risk of dropping out or unemployed.

Success factors and processes

Ministry, policy makers/advisors, social workers, RMC consultants workers and school attendant officers of the municipalities Gouda. From the schools are involved the school board, schools leaders, school counsellors. Local businesses are being involved as well.

To prevent early school leaving of students it is essential to have a good communication with the students. A reporting and monitoring program has been set up at the municipality which shows the absence and truancy of the students as well as the different schools students have attended. Communication with the student and in some cases parents or care givers when necessary have played an important role. RMC consultants are the spin in the web with the school, job coaches, social workers and other institutions and stakeholders. RMC is the link between all parties involved with the students. Good agreements and short communication lines are important conditions for the success of the program.

Being able to motivate and inform the students on the possibilities they have in life. Coaching skills are necessary and getting in contact on a personal level, both consultants share their own experiences with the students with the aim to motivate them.
Melanie Darretta comes from a mixed cultural family herself and loves to inspire young people who are stuck at the moment. She stimulates them to work hard and help them see and explore their possibilities in life.
Marlies de Waard shares her experiences on how to get to a higher level of education by taking one step at the time. Starting at a lower level you can still grow into higher education. She motivates young adults who  are not obliged to attend school anymore to find a fitting education or learn on the job  that give them an in-company education. Because of her background as social worker she has a good view of the social map of the region which helps her to advice young adults. It is her passion to inspire young adults to go back to school and finish their education or find the right job.
Coaching capacities of the RMC consultants are key competences.

As it is a community program and involves different partners it needs time. Both consultant have been working in the area over 5 years and results are being seen as the number of dropouts has decreased. They recently were complimented by the Government for their great results and good progress they are making in the Gouda region.

Impact of measures taken

By introducing the program in the region, the collaboration between the different parties resulted in better informing the students on the possibilities they have in choosing a school. Also by involving the labour market we have been able to inform the students better in what possibilities they have in life which helps them choose the right education and motivates them to finish their education or choose the right job.

Leassons learned

One of the main risk with these students is that they dropout with any qualification and end up being unemployed and not being part of society. Students tend to think on short term solutions, the challenge is to make them think of long term solutions for their goal in life.

Resources needed

The government encourages the approach of early school leavers with two subsidies; a performance subsidy for educational institutions and a subsidy for a regional approach. A total of € 114 million is available annually for this cause.

The ministry of the Netherlands made funds available to introduce the reporting and coordinating program to the municipality of Gouda. The program has made it possible to coach the students on a very personal level.

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Target group of good practice:

Policy makers

Country:

The Netherlands

Author:

Melanie Darretta (right) and Marlies de Waard (left)

Institution:

Municipality of Gouda, Education Department

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