School attendants help to prevent dropout

Short summary

Students in in big cities such as Amsterdam are exposed to many challenges that can cause dropout or absence from school at an early age. 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.

 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.

Within the framework of the program the following  4 experts strongly works together:

  1. school attendant
  2. social worker
  3. youth doctor
  4. care coordinator in the school

 A school attendant plays an important role: he/she comes to the school and talks to the children and the school counsellors. The school attendant is there when absence is a problem, but beside that his/her main task is  detect problems at an early stage (e.g.: when a child is not in school due to many sick days).

A school attendant is regularly seen in school and easy to be approached by the children. His/her role is to prevent drop out, help communications between parties; school, parents, social workers and youth doctor.

The school attendant is very much involved and connected to schools to improve communication between all parties. A larger picture of the child’s situation is available and therefor support can be personalised to the child’s need.

School attendant of Bureau Leerplicht offers:

  • Help for children staying and attending school
  • Connect with families and make home visits
  • Cooperating with school counsellors, social workers
  • Advising school leaders, teachers

The target groups Renate is working with are children in:

  1. primary schools
  2. secondary schools
  3. special education schools.

Key for success is to improve and have communication with the schools, students and experts at the highest possible level at the benefit of the child.

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Target group of good practice:

School leaders & Teacher educators


The Netherlands


Renata van der Molen

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