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Guidance at School: Tutoring, support and study continuation

Good practice

Description

Guidance process in secondary education to accompany the student in his/her process of personal development and study continuation.

Beneficiaries

All the students in lower and upper secondary education (12-16 years-old), in particular those at risk of early leaving from education and training.

Countries

Education level and sector

Lower secondary

Higher secondary

Type of policy/initiative

Prevention
Intervention
Compensation

Preventative/Intervention/Compensation

Level of implementation / Scope

Institutional level

Stage of implementation

Ongoing since 1996

Aims of policy/initiative

The aim of this practice is to promote study progression of all the students and in particular of those at risk of early leaving from education and training.

Features and types of activities implemented

The practice involves a variety of actions to:

  1. Accompany the subjective construction of the learner throughout schooling
  2. Accompany the choice of post-compulsory study options
  3. Enable access to basic skills through specific projects
  4. Improve coexistence and participation

Guidance starts at the transition from primary to compulsory secondary education. At this point, the individual needs of learners are taken into account when designing the groups and the educational actions, and designating tutors.

There are two types of tutoring activities:

  • Each group of students has one hour per week of tutoring led by the ‘group tutor’. The aim is to help learners in their subjective construction, their relationship with others and the environment, their copying with difficulties, and development of responsibility. Tutoring sessions focus on the following topics: social cohesion and coexistence, co-education, environment, health, social skills, academic guidance, and post-school guidance.
  • There is also individual tutoring. The so-called ‘guiding tutor’ has 12-15 learners with whom s/he needs to establish a personal relationship, and monitor their academic life.  

The focus of the tutoring activities varies across education levels. Work with families is included in all cases. Project work is used to address the needs of learners with special needs. Current projects include the ecologic orchard, the school library and a mindfulness workshop.

There is also a project for students in the last year of compulsory secondary education who struggle with the ordinary curricula and academic work. They are offered a professionally oriented path which links to upper secondary VET programmes. The project involves an agreement with the city council to find training placements for weekly workshops with companies or professionals in different sectors.

During each school year and, in particular at the end of it, there is a reassessment of needs to be able to optimise educational actions and personal guidance. The process is finalised at the end of each educational stage, and the aim is to ensure that the learner continues in education and training.

Resources

There is no specific budget for these activities. The practice results from optimising the regular resources the school has for projects and organisation, and its human resources. Broadly, time is allocated to each type of activity as follows:

  • The school counsellor dedicates around one third of his time to project work with the most vulnerable groups from an academic and social point of view; one third to individual follow up of at-risk learners and their families; and one third to support to teachers and resource organisation in the school.  
  • Group and individual tutors dedicate 2 hours per week to managing tutoring activities and ensuring individual follow-up of every student. Group tutors have a weekly meeting with the coordinator of the education stage to discuss the tutoring action plan and group guidance. There is also a meeting every two weeks bringing together group tutors, individual tutors, and the other teachers to follow up on the groups and at-risk learners.
  • The coordinators of education stages and the leadership team support tutors in the most complicated cases.

Evaluation of the measure

The school monitors the degree of satisfaction of families, students and teachers with the tutoring action. In 2017, between 80% and 85% of individuals were highly satisfied with the tutoring action.

It also keeps track of the percentage of learners who remain in education or training every year (‘study continuation index’). This includes:

  • Students who graduate from upper secondary education (general or VET) or finalise a programme for those with special needs (occupational training).
  • Students who repeat a year or enrol in programmes that do not lead to an upper secondary degree, most importantly the ‘Training and insertion programmes’ which lead to a professional qualification.

Data is presented in the following table.

Transitions of students at the end of the 4th grade of Compulsory Secondary Education 2011-2017

Students completing compulsory education

 

Upper secondary education (academic track)

56%

Upper secondary education

(VET track)

 

43%

Occupational Training[1]

1%

Labour market

0%

Study continuation index

99%

Students not completing compulsory education

Repetition of 4th grade

55%

Programmes of training and insertion[2]

44%

Upper secondary education VET track  (through access exam)

0%

Adult education

1%

Occupational training

0%

Labour market

0%

Study continuation index

100%

 


[1] Training programmes developed by employment authorities.

[2] 1 –year programmes for 16-21 year-olds who have not completed compulsory education. Completion of these programmes gives access to upper secondary VET tracks or the labour market.

Evidence of effectiveness of the measure

Data shows that there is a ‘study continuation index’ of 100% compared to an average in Catalan schools of around 98% (in 2017). This is attained in a school with a higher than average percentage of students with special needs or from disadvantaged background, in a context of economic difficulties, and without additional resources.

Success factors

The results presented are a result of tutoring activities and curricular flexibility. These strategies were implemented thanks to great efforts at the management and organisational levels from the leadership team. Success factors include:

  • The design of specific professional profiles (group tutor, individual tutor) that allow for the development of the school educational project.
  • Actions to ensure stability in school staff, in particular, to ensure that the professionals most engaged with the project are allocated to the school year after year.
  • The promotion of staff training actions by the school.
  • The promotion of co-responsibility of all the staff through the organisation model in place.
  • The provision of support to staff who needs it.

A good organisation and information flow.

Contact details for further information

Carme Rabadán Ruiz

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