Lifelong Learning Programme

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Success Stories

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Arrival of a new headmaster and setting up of an “internal reschooling device”
Lower Secondary School
Integration of immigrants students
The main actors involved
Headmaster, teachers.

When, where and how the story happened
Technical and professional school in a neighbourhood with many migrants and underprivileged inhabitants. The school has a socio-economical grade of -1,3. This is the only school in the city with such a level of “ghettoization”.

When he arrives (school year 2010-2011), the new headmaster reorganised the school:
• Suppression of the discipline headmaster (old and out-of-date method) in favour of four educators with immediate proximity to students. They manage the issue of “living together” and discipline (case by case management, notes, school planner, incident notifications, explanation and reparation report…).
• Pedagogic and support and training support for the educational team by external counsellors: training of teachers on the notions of sanction and authority after the reorganisation, work on the teachers’ team, project development.
• Creation of a device to fight early school leaving and violence at school (EASI), after a reflexive approach conducted by the educational team.

What is EASI?
EASI stands for “Espace d’Accrochage Scolaire Interne” (Internal reschooling space) a classroom of the school with another name.

Thanks to this device, young people who have big difficulties are temporarily welcomed. It is dedicated to students who do not belong in a traditional class: because of family or social problems (prison, bereavement …) or because they lack learning abilities (such as writing on a sheet).

Getting into “EASI” is not a punishment, but help offered to the student. It is considered as a partnership between the student, his/her parents and the school. It needs to be approved by a special class council with the teachers and the headmaster.

The purpose of EASI is to offer young people in difficulty specific and adapted supervision, based on a link between the work carried out in that space and the regular school curriculum.

Students can join EASI three times during the school year: in October (after the late September class council), in January and after the Easter holidays. They stay there three months (which can be renewed).

The first mission of EASI is to make students able again to learn at school, to reintegrate them in the class:
• Identify students’ resources and weaknesses, restore self-confidence, find a new motivation, develop a training project.
• Re-establish a positive relation to school and its actors, trust the adult, accept his/her authority.
• Find a new meaning to learning through project pedagogy, to get involved in a classroom life, to integrate a work context.

EASI also has the following aims:
• Evolve toward a behaviour that is compatible with group and society life: learn to express oneself, to manage conflicts, to respect rules, to unlearn escape and violence.
• Broaden one’s life horizon, be situated as citizen in society.

The supervision is made of weekly individual listening and evaluation moments to enable young people to (re)gain self-confidence; daily exchanges that are indispensable to socialisation; moments dedicated to school work and, finally, group activities.

The week in EASI processes according to an established rhythm:
• 8 to 10: school activities
• 10 to 12: speech time and press review
• Two afternoons a week are dedicated to the project developed by the student (personal or team project)
• Two afternoons a week are dedicated to sport and a (cultural, educational, civil…) school trip
• Every Friday at noon, a thematic drink is organised by students (an ideal moment for meetings between teachers and students, teachers and EASI, educators and students…)

Organisation of the student who visits EASI is organised by his class:
• Every week the form tutor (titulaire) picks one pupil that will act as a peer mentor for one EASI pupil
• On Monday morning, the peer mentor is given a file and a photocopy of the planner page of the week
• The peer mentor puts there the class documents received for the EASI pupil.
• The peer mentor references on a sheet the inventory of the exercises done in the textbooks.
• The teacher who is present completes the photocopy of the planner.
• The peer mentor brings the file at the EASI on Friday during the snack.

Reasons why the story can be considered as a success.
During the school year 2011-2012, EASI welcomed around twenty pupils. In this first version of the device, pupils could enter the space at any moment and stay there the whole school year.
Some of those pupils were directed to other schools, notably CEFA for five of them. Two pupils returned to their class full-time. Two pupils left school. The others finished the school year in EASI and took their exams there.

The good results of the first experience encouraged the school to carry on. For the school year 2012-2013, in order to make the care for students more optimal, the EASI team refocused the device working. It will welcome no more than fifteen students for limited periods.

The starting point of the student.
Students with major school failure: truancy, lack of motivation, bad integration in the class, negative relations to authority and peers, family and social problems …
Most students in this school failed their primary school certificate and have already repeated. Without a specific professional project, they end up in this school for various reasons: their friends are there, it is close to their home, they have already “tried” the other schools around. Fatalist, they have become passive regarding their success at school.

Economic and social situation of the family involved
The school population is mainly made up of little educated immigrant young people, of the first, second or third generation, from Africa or North Africa, from neighbourhood close to the school.

Inter-culturalism is experienced every day in this school:
• 300 students of foreign origin, 40 different nationalities
• Underprivileged neighbourhood: 63% of the families receive social benefits
• Students with limited social integration in their neighbourhood
• Because of the students’ marginality, street law prevails
• Students wait until they are 18 so they can receive benefits
Families have their norms, their culture; the school cannot interfere unless something is wrong at school.
Possible explanation of the success
• The headmaster’s resolution to come to grips with the problem of early school leaving and to establish a project approach. The headmaster identified a challenge for which he mobilised the educational team. He is a leader who encourages his team to seek solutions and not only to spot problems.
• EASI’s permanent interaction with the class of the student and the whole educational team.
• Additional subvention made it possible to make the device professional from its beginning.
Three teachers (1 full-time, 2 half time) were assigned to the device. Other teachers (including the sport teacher) brought support.
The EASI team could also call external trainers and received on “multiple intelligences”.
Two rooms were fit out and affected to EASI: one living space (in which meals are taken) and a working space (a classroom).

Interaction between the various actors involved
The way the device works involves many interactions:
• internally, contacts are permanent between the EASI team and the original class (through the organisation process) and with the whole educational team (through the Friday thematic drink, the class councils …) or with the parents (met at home if necessary);
• externally, collaborations with associations working in the neighbourhood, police services, youth protection services, various organisations for sport and cultural activities ...

There is a video on “integration” made by a class of the school in 2012, within the framework of the “ma classe fait sa TV” campaign (my classroom makes TV) organised by the Ministry of Education
Lien You tube :

Action of educational policy, either at local, regional or national level
This device is part of the school’s recognition as “encadrement différencié” (differentiated supervision) by the Ministry of Education.

The system is in effect since the school year 2010-2011 to guarantee for every first and second cycle student (mainly the third vocational year, the students of which have 33% chance not to get a diploma) equal chance of social emancipation in a good educational environment.

This recognition depends on the socio-economical grade of the area in which the school is located (income per inhabitant, diploma levels, unemployment rate, professional activity rate, accommodation comfort …).

It makes available additional human and financial means and involves synergies with local and regional associations operating in the area where the school is located.

The school commits itself to reinforce the command of basic learning and French language in particular, to fight school failure through immediate remediation and differentiated learning, and to prevent early school leaving and, therefore, possible incivilities and acts of violence.

Indeed, within EASI supervision is versatile: integration of immigrant students, students with learning difficulties, students with a negative relation to authority and peers …

Transferability potential of the experience
This device is not specific to schools recognised as “differentiated supervision”. Any school can develop an identical project.

A working group made up of teachers, educators, members of PMS teams and mediation ... meet in interaction with the headmaster to build the framework of the device and define its objectives.

The main objective of this reschooling device is to “reconcile the student with school” (to fight school leaving and demotivation and help the student in difficulty his idea of school and authority).

The device changes according to the school, the commitment and creativity of the educational team. It evolves year after year because it has good results.

Supervisions have various lengths: for some students one or two meetings are enough, for others, 30 hours are necessary. In other cases still, it is even longer: two to three weeks (renewable), or even three months (renewable).

The number of students also varies: 10 to 70, or 100 students per school year.

To work, the device needs various means:
• A multidisciplinary intervention team (teachers, educators, social workers, CPMS agent, mediators, collaborations with external services)
• Suitable premises (living space and classroom, for instance).

Funds for the staff assigned to the socialisation activities. In this regard, only schools recognised as “differentiated supervision” receive financial means from the Ministry of Education. Others must find a way to receive subvention or resort to voluntary work.

20 December 2014

Final Partners’ meeting

The fourth partners’ meeting took place in Florence (IT) on 15 December 2014. The meeting had the objective to check the activities carried out since the third meeting of the project and share and assess the in progress results. A special focus has been dedicated to the presentation of the strategies to solve the case scenarios.