French second chance schools (E2Cs) offer training programmes which incorporate individualised learning paths tailored to the needs of each participant.
Early School Leavers aged 17-25 who have been outside the school system for at least a year (many second chance schools also welcome young people aged 16-18).
Education level and sector
Lower secondary/Upper secondary
Vocational Education and Training (VET) approach (i.e. reintegrates early leavers via VET courses, among other types of courses).
Type of policy/initiative
Level of implementation / Scope
Implemented by regional/local actors.
Stage of implementation
In progress since 1997. More than 52 second chance schools now have more than 124 sites open in different regions of France, nearly 15000 young people accompanied each year.
Aims of policy/initiative
E2C’s aim is to reintegrate young people into a training course leading to a qualification or directly into employment and to foster their social and professional integration.
Features and types of activities implemented
E2C offer training programmes with the following key characteristics:
- Individualized learning paths tailored to the needs of each participant (for example, a future kitchen assistant will focus on measurements).
- Links to the business world - a training program that alternates education and work experience. A strong involvement of the business world (40% of the time of the training course).
- Issuing a personalised certificate of acquired skills - the skills obtained at the end of each module are validated to indicate the skills and practical skills acquired by the learner.
- A programme for a motivated learner who has made a positive choice.
- A pedagogy based on the contracts, the valorization of the successes and the projects. This pedagogy is designed to encourage participants' commitment and encourage them.
According to data provided by Réseau E2C France, E2C financing in 2017 amounted to 81.1 million euros. The main contributor and determine is the regional council (35%). The State (Ministry of Employment and Cohesion of the Territories) contributes an average of 28.2%. Then follow the European Funds (ESF) for 11.6%, the local and regional authorities 10.3% and the Apprenticeship tax for 5%. Variations remain significant according to the territories. Each territory responds to a particular problem.
Evaluation of the measure
The measure has been evaluated but without a specific focus on the impacts on students.
A monographic survey was commissioned by the Ministry of Labour in 2012. It focused on 8 E2Cs and described their functioning, organisation models and the activities they implement.
E2C was also one of the subjects of a 2013 parliamentary report, and of a 2014 report by the National Education Ministry.
Furthermore, E2C was included in a study by DG EAC.
Evidence of effectiveness of the measure
E2C schools have grown throughout France: the number of young people in care has increased from 1,000 in 10 sites in 2003 to nearly 15,000 in more than 124 sites in 2017. On average, immediate tangible positive outcomes (i.e. a return to education and training or employment) are observed for more than half of youth leaving the E2C system. After post-training, 61% of young people find a sustainable solution to employment or training.
The following success factors are based on the testimonies of participants in the measure interviewed for the Cedefop study:
- Pedagogy of the E2C: the pedagogy is based on contracts, valuation of success and active pedagogy. It is made to foster the commitment of the participants and to provide them with encouragement. E2C learners commit to the school via a ‘commitment contract’ after a trial period. If commitments are not held, there is the threat of being excluded. The personalised certificate of acquired competences serves both to give value to the progress made by the E2C learner and as a facilitator for job market entry.
- Multiple work experiences at multiple companies: typically, E2C learners do several internships at different companies. In total they spend close to half of their time at companies. Such experiences help to build a realistic professional project. This helps remedy for any false representations/ misconceptions learners may have regarding work in a particular sector (e.g. it’s easy/tough).
- Strong links with enterprises: to make sure their learners find placements for internships, E2C schools pay special attention to developing and maintaining strong links with enterprises. They try to sign charters or conventions at local or national level. The Réseau E2C France showcases some the companies which are partners of the E2C schools on its website. On a more day-to-day basis, one critical success factor is that enterprises have a clear contact point within the school.
- Political support: the added value of the E2C concept has been recognised by the French government, an endorsement that contributed to the dissemination of E2Cs across France, and provided access to financial support.
- Labelling process: the labelling process which is supported by an independent audit system makes sure all schools which use the name E2C school meet certain standard quality criteria (e.g. the pedagogic approach, the predominance of the work experiences, etc.). This contributes to the development of an E2C identity and facilitates the emergence of a sense of belonging among the E2C learners.
- Réseau E2C France: the nationwide E2C association fulfils a number of functions which support the dissemination of the E2C concept, including: networking among E2C schools, exchange of practices, support to the development of new schools, advocacy and branding towards policy makers and the business community.
- Multidimensional support at the E2C: the importance that E2C schools give to the resolution of multidimensional problems is reflected in the background of the team of professionals working at the E2C. Their profiles are quite diversified and include education and training professionals, social workers, employees with a business background and experts in pedagogy. The intervention of external partners is also key. For instance, at the visited E2C, in the first phase of training, the learners go through a preventive health check. Discussions and games are also organised by a sociologist/ sexologist to talk about issues surrounding affective and sexual life. Partnerships are also developed with bike hire services or with NGOs such as Emmaüs that provide trainings on how to repair bikes.