Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Lifelong Learning Project - School Inclusion - Preventing Early School Leaving

Database delle pubblicazioni


Stories of early school leaving - Pointers for policy and practice


Janet Taylor


Brotherhood of St Laurence


Fitzroy, 2009






This report directly addresses the problem of early school leavers as it is perceived and experienced by Australian students. It collects eight stories of young children who have left school before completing the last years of education. This sample is not a random one, it is part of an important longitudinal study (called “Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Life Chances Study”) that followed more than one hundred of students through their scholastic careers. These stories all share a similar background: almost all the eight children’s families live in economic and social disadvantage, the scholastic career of the protagonists didn’t cover the entire cycle of studies and the students concerned had longstanding learning difficulties. At the age of 17 all of them were no more living in their parents’ home. What is different between the eight stories is the path they tread after the drop out. However, from the point of view of self-realization in the future these children appear to be unsatisfied: most of them are unemployed and in search for a job, some others are making efforts to restart school and complete their studies. The conclusions drafted from the analysis of their problems are seen in more general terms: people who experience this uneasiness are unable to find their place in society, they develop few skills and do not find themselves comfortable with the few opportunities that nowadays societies reserve for them. These data turn out to be really useful for the government of Australia, but also for teachers and parents facing this dramatic situation in order to prevent and tackle the phenomenon of early school leaving.


This report appears to be really useful to the reader, because it leads to a practical and concrete understanding of the problem of early school leaving. The author’s choice of quoting from the real life experiences of dropped out children is actually an appropriate one: learning of a problem affecting lots of modern societies from the perspectives and feelings of the people directly involved in it helps to analyze the current situation in a deeper way. About the method of selection of the sample, a remark must be made: all the children share almost the same familiar and personal background and this feature strongly influences their approach to school and their choices in life. Nevertheless, the common future perspectives opened to these eight children are negative in some sense, because until now no one could find its own role in society and this causes feelings of anxieties and dissatisfaction. Right now the author properly calls for the action of institutions and social actors that can be seen as responsible for the growth of children who represent the future of society. Some measures are recommended and listed in the report’s conclusions, such as improving school retention and youth income and providing assistance in the access to training and employment opportunities. This kind of work should be considered as a leading model for further studies by other societies facing the same problem and its task should always be to spur authorities, teachers and parents to do their best in order to eliminate, or at least reduce, the scholastic dropping out rate.


Sara Ciabattini


Pixel Association


Project Assistant

Login Area

15 November 2012

Stay@School at the Future of Education Conference

The Stay@School projet will be presented at the third edition of the “Future of Education” international conference, held in Florence, Italy, on 13 - 14 June 2013. Over 250 participants from all over the world will attend the conference. The conference participants belong to the sectors of higher education, school education, vocational education and training as well as adult education, therefore representing all of the target groups of the Stay@School project.

School Inclusion - Copyright 2008 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

Valid XHTML 1.1Valid CSS!  Comunicazione grafica: - Programmazione & Web Marketing: - Hosting by: Connectis s.r.l.
Materiale fotografico: © Yuri Arcurs |