Preventing dropping out in Leerplicht region, Amsterdam

Short summary

The students  are exposed to many challenges that can distract them from finishing school and getting a qualification in big cities as Amsterdam.

Preventing drop out of students and leave the school without qualification is one of the core responsibilities of the education department of the municipality of Amsterdam.

In order to reduce the number of early school leavers  the municipality works together with secondary schools and vocational schools as well as youth care and the labour market to prevent students from dropping out.

 Leerplicht Amsterdam offers to students:

  • Help in preventing truancy, together with school and youth care
  • Motivation to finish their study and getting a degree.

 Leerplicht Amsterdam offers to schools in accordance with the national “Attack on dropping out” program:

  • Policy advice to school boards.
  • Facilitate implementing monitoring program in schools.
  • Connect and work together with all schools as well as youth care and the labour market.

Policy advisors belong to a team with a joint responsibility for advising the attendance officers and the alderman. The attendance officers work in teams spread over the city.

From the municipality policy advisors are involved to work together with the schools’ boards and introduce the program. Local businesses are connected to inform students on the labour market possibilities.

Target groups are students that have a high percentage of absence, who are at high risk of dropping out and students that are in the phase of making a choice for intermediate vocational.

The aim of the program “Attack on dropping out”.

10 years ago the Ministry of Education introduced a program called “Attack on dropping out”.  The program enforced the school boards of secondary education, vocational education and municipalities to work together to tackle the issue of ESL. The ministry provided the financial background of the program . As school boards and municipalities decide together on how the money is spent, it gave a big impulse to the cooperation and helped to have a more horizontal, complex approach on  helping the students to get qualification.

The most important measures that we have taken towards (the prevention of) truancy  is paying more attention to the issue. Students are being monitored and absence is registered in a program. It means extra facilities in the schools to monitor the absence of students. With the help of the monitoring system we can detect the problem at an early stage, contact the students, sometimes the parents and help prevent larger problems of dropping out. Communication is the key among the different parties: with the schools, students and experts.

More attention has been paid to the transition from secondary school to intermediate vocational school as well. This is a period well known for the risk of students dropping out. There is better communication between schools and more help is given to the student to choose the right vocational school.

By introducing the program as well as providing facilities to the schools to execute it changed the students’ mindset on the importance of choosing the right education.

The collaboration between secondary schools and intermediate vocational education resulted in better informing the students on their learning possibilities. 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.

This program has resulted in a 16% decrease of drop outs in the Amsterdam region.

 My personal motivation is: Every child should be able to achieve the best possible position in life according to their own abilities - Edith van Rossum

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Target group of good practice:

Policy makers


The Netherlands


Edith van Rossum policy advisor

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