14 SES 13, Parents, Schools and Communities to Prevent Disaffection and Reduce Inequalities
As expounded by the European Commission (2013) or Eurydice (2014), the fight against school failure and early school leaving is, above all, a matter of prevention. The processes of school disaffection result in some children, especially those from lower income families, being left increasingly behind (Lareau 2003; Enguita 2010; Cebolla 2014; OCDE 2016). It is therefore crucial to prevent such processes of school disaffection when they first arise; that is to say, in early years and primary education (Heckman 2006 and 2011). The aim of the Enxaneta project (Enxaneta refers to the child that crowns the human towers that are traditionally constructed in Catalonia and that metaphorically denotes the need for a strong bond between teachers, families and community in order to achieve the success of each child) is to prevent school disaffection and failure of children in the region of Osona with marks between 3 and 6 out of 10 in the first years of primary school (year 1 – year 3, ISCED 1). Most of the children in the project come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds (focused policy), but the project also includes middle class families that contribute to building a normalised and non-stigmatised service (global policy). The pillars of the project are: a) professional educational mentoring that works with two children 90 minutes a week in order to practice the basic skills (reading comprehension and mathematics); b) strong family involvement with a weekly session involving children, parents, mentors and teachers with the aim of recognising and fomenting their capacities and knowledge as educators and companions in school education; c) teacher involvement in the family sessions and two annual pedagogic meetings that seek to involve the whole school in preventing school disaffection; d) support of the community, both from the town council in covering 50% of the cost of the mentoring (the other 50% is covered by the Regional Council of Osona, the region in which the project is implemented) and support for the families from the social services, as well as through public (like libraries and civic centres) and private (like sports clubs and areas or activities of educational free-time areas or activities) resources.
The perspective on mentoring work derives from existing research (Lauer et al. 2004; Zief et al 2006; Durlak and Weissberg 2007; Shllruf 2010; Kidron and Lindsay 2014), and with both children and families it is based on their interests, knowledge and capacities; strengthens the high expectations of and about the children; and empowers parents as the main agents of educational and school support. It avoids any temptation to treat them as ‘culturally deprived’ (Bernstein, 1970). The research question is whether this project of school support through a collaborative network between children, families and community can reverse processes of school disaffection. That is to say, whether it can help children of the target group (Enxaneta) learn more that the children of the control group (non-Enxeneta) in the different pre- and post-intervention measures; prevent future school failure (this will be analysed from longitudinal studies that are not yet available); and contribute to building a more inclusive and equitable educational system for all pupils (Ainscow 2012).
- Ainscow, M. (2012) «Haciendo que las escuelas sean más inclusivas: lecciones a partir del análisis de la investigación internacional». Revista de Educación Inclusiva, 5 (1), p. 39-49 - Bernstein, B. (1970) «A Critique of the Concept of Compensatory Education» in: Rubinstein, D; Stoneman, C. (Eds.) Education for Democracy. London, Penguin., p. 110-121. - Cebolla, H. (2014) “Previous school results and social background: compensation and imperfect information in educational transitions”. European Sociological Review, 30 (2): 207-217 - Duncan, G.; Musrane, R. (2014) Restoring Opportunity. The Crisis of Inequality and the Challenge for American Education. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press. - Durlak J.A., Weissberg, R.P. (2007). The Impact of After-School Programs that Promote Personal and Social Skills. Chicago: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning - Fernández Enguita, M.; Mena, L.; Riviere, J. (2010) Fracàs i abandonament escolar a España. Barcelona, Fundació La Caixa - European Commission (2013) Reducing early school leaving: Key messages and policy support. Brussels, UE. - Eurydice (2014) “Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training: Strategies, Policies and Measures". Brussels, UE. - Heckman, J. (2006). “Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing in Disadvantaged children” Science, 312(5782):1900-1902. - HECKMAN, j. (2011) “The Economics of inequality. The value of early childhood education”, en American Educator, 35 (1), p. 31-35. - Kidron, Y., Lindsay, J. (2014) The effects of increased learning time on student academic and nonacademic outcomes: Findings from a meta-analytic review. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. - Lauer, P.A., Akiba, M., Wilkerson, S.B., Apthorp, H.S., Snow, D., & Martin-Glenn, M.L. (2004). The effectiveness of Out-of-School-time Strategies in Assisting Low-Achieving Students in Reading and Mathematics: A Research Synthesis. McRel Documents - Lauer, P.A., Akiba, M., Wilkerson, S.B., Apthorp, H.S., Snow, D., & Martin-Glenn, M.L. (2006). Out-of-School Time Programs: A Meta-Analysis of Effects for at-risk Students. Review of Educational Research, 76, 275-313. - Lareau, A. (2003) Unequal childhoods. Berkeley, UCP. - OCDE (2016) Education at glance. Spain. OCDE, Paris. - Shulruf, B. (2010). “Do extra-curricular activities in schools improve educational outcomes? A critical review and meta-analysis of the literature”. International Review of Education, 56(5-6), 591612. - Zief, G.H., Lauver, S., Maynard, R.A (2006). “Impacts of after-school programs on student outcomes”. A systematic review for the Campbell Collaboration. Campbell Collaboration
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