- Early school leavers without a pathway, mainly identified through the SIEI. In this context, early leavers are defined as:
- Students over 16 years of age who did not obtain the qualification for which they were enrolled the year prior to the time of the SIEI calculation .
- Those who are not enrolled in any educational institution at the time of the SIEI calculation.
 This means that those holding a Brevet d’Etudes Professionelles or a Certificat d’Aptitude Professionelle which stand at level 3 of the International Standard Classification of Education can appear on the SIEI list if they had registered for the professional baccalaureate but did not complete it.
Education level and sector
Lower secondary/Upper secondary; all types of education
Type of policy/initiative
Level of implementation / Scope
Stage of implementation
Ongoing/mainstream since 2011.
Aims of policy/initiative
PSAD aims at early identification of “Early School Leavers” and the enhancement of coordination among local stakeholders active in the fight against early school leaving with a view to making compensatory (‘second chance’) measures more effective.
Features and types of activities implemented
The PSADs are a coordination structure gathering all relevant stakeholders at local level on a set territory.
Twice a year, the PSADs receive a list of early school leavers on its territory from the inter-ministerial system of information exchange (SIEI) . From this list, the PSADs identify those in need of support and invites them for an interview where guidance officers assess their situation, in order to offer them appropriate solutions. These will vary from one case to another but will typically imply a return to initial education or training, entry into employment, continuation of education and training opportunities, or other transitional measures (guidance and activation measures, corporate world discovery).
 The SIEI is a system which collects and cross-references administrative data from various education and training providers (National Education schools, Ministry of Agriculture schools and apprenticeship centres) in order to identify those leaving education and training without any qualification.
Initially, PSADs were supported by the ‘experimenting for youth fund’ (fonds d’expérimentation pour la jeunesse – FEJ), a public fund financing projects fostering the social and professional integration of young people.
Evaluation of the measure
The effects of the measure on individuals have not been evaluated yet. Such an evaluation is complicated by the fact that the measure doesn’t provide any direct support.
The PSADs have however been included in a number of external evaluations by the Parliament and the Ministry of National Education in 2014, which cover a wide range of measures.
Evidence of effectiveness of the measure
The 2014 evaluation (which didn't focus on effects) gathered data on the total target (200,495), the percentage of people contacted and evaluated (90%) and those engaged in a more or less sustainable solution (45%).
The following success factors are based on the testimonies of participants in the measure interviewed for the Cedefop study:
- High visibility at political level/legal obligation to set up the PSADs: there is a legal obligation to cover all geographic areas with PSADs. This reflects the high political priority given to the fight against early leaving. The responsibility to set them up and follow their development was assigned to local authorities (before being transferred in 2015 to regional councils), who need to nominate PSAD leads. PSADs’ activity indicators are provided to the central services periodically. This approach could have undermined the ownership of the initiative at local level but, after five years of operation, it has not been the case - at least in the contacted PSADs. Partner organisations at local level were allowed to decide how to organise themselves, which partners to involve (beyond core partners, which are the Centres for Information and Orientation, local missions and schools), etc.
- Multi-stakeholder involvement: Involving a wide range of stakeholders is crucial - beyond actors dependent on the Ministry of Education (which holds the fight against early school leaving at the core of its mission). Identifying early school leavers is hereby made easier and solutions offered to them, diversified.
- An SIEI system fostering partners’ proactiveness: the SIEI allows partners to be proactive in reaching early leavers. Without that system, partner organisations would only offer help to those spontaneously reaching out or being referred to them. We can safely assume that those not actively seeking help when in need differ in profile from those autonomously taking the necessary steps to get help. Making additional efforts not to leave anybody behind can be seen as a positive development, potentially increasing the numbers of those who would have received assistance otherwise.
- More accurate lists from the SIEI and a more sophisticated system: The SIEI now has a better coverage, avoiding duplications of names on the list. As a result, partners need less resources to go through the list of potential early school leavers. The system has also become more sophisticated, allowing the PSAD coordinator to not only consult lists but also electronically monitor every situation.