‘The transfer’ is a project to prevent early school leaving (ESL) at the moment that students make the transfer from secondary school to a follow-up education. In the 4 big cities in the Netherlands, among which The Hague is one, a relatively large group of students does not go to a follow-up education after having their diploma of the prevocational education (+/- 15%). This means that they have no basic qualification and are early school leavers. It turned out that this group of students can fall out easily from the educational system and it is too late to undertake action. To make sure that these potential early school leavers are mapped on time, project ‘The transfer’ was started in 2006.
Context of good practice
The project is targeted at all exam candidates of schools for pre-vocational education in The Hague (+/- 16 years old). This secondary education offers learners a pre-vocational education for the vocational education system. The Dutch ministry of education regards VMBO education as a preparatory education for vocational education institutes. For their position at the labour market, having a basic qualification and hence moving on to a follow-up education (a senior secondary vocational education) is highly important. Students who graduate from the VMBO schools at age 16 and who do not attend further education are regarded early school leavers.
Main characteristics of the challenge, description of the target group
The aim of the project is to prevent ESL at the transfer from pre-vocational education (VMBO) to senior secondary vocational education (MBO). The project has a special attention for those students who, without extra help and despite of all efforts of school and parents, won’t make a successful transition from VMBO to MBO: the so-called high-risk students. By knowing this group on time and offering extra coaching during the summer break, a lot of students show to make a well-considered and appropriate choice for a follow-up education eventually. As a result, the student can regularly start with the follow-up education at the beginning of the school year.
To sum up, the targets are:
- having all students ‘in view’
- signalling and coaching the high-risk students
- decreasing ESL and help more students to get basic vocational qualification
- increasing the inflow in senior secondary vocational education
- providing a balanced care network for students who need extra care
- clear responsibilities for the city council, the schools and parents
The project is commissioned by the city council of The Hague and executed by the Learner Affairs product group (by ‘case managers’). Other partners are schools for secondary vocational education, schools for senior secondary education, other regional city councils, Spirit4You (trade association) and ‘RMC Haaglanden’.
Success factors and processes
The City of The Hague put much emphasis on 16-year-old students at the VMBO level. Those students are very likely to leave school if they do not get the necessary support.
Therefore, the project members know all the students and executed the following activities:
- letters to (the parents of) the students: why is it important to obtain basic vocational qualification?
- tracking system: all registrations for follow-up education are monitored.
- reporting of high-risk students by the school.
- coaching and house calls: after the exam-period these high-risked students are called for coaching. By no response, house calls are made.
- career orientation.
- warm transfer to the MBO school
Impact of measures taken
This project started in 2006. Results are clearly visible. The number of students marked as ‘high-risk students’ evidently decreased. Moreover, in 2012 88% of the high-risk students went back to school and succeeded in finding a suitable follow-up education (see tables below).
High risk students
In 2012, the following results were achieved:
All 312 high risk students were individually known by the city council and were assigned a case manager.
Transfer to city council
Back to school
Moved to another city
Transfer to city council
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