Third project meeting in Berlin (November 2010)

Here the Dutch group was made up of staff members from the municipality, from Hervion College, from Koning Willem I College and the Centre for Youth and Family. The group was divided into three subgroups - group 1 focused on school and social work, group 2 on school and group 3 on school and career orientation. The entire group came together on the Wednesday morning to learn about the different parties who were going to work together to achieve the goal of reducing early school-leaving.

At this stage the Dutch partners began to get a real sense for how differently the same problem could be approached in two countries. Overall, the impression was that the Dutch approach to truancy deals more directly with the pupils themselves. However, the new Sekundarschule and the concept of the all-day school (Ganztagschule), which have started with the school year 2010/2011, were both of much interest to the participants as means of leading a more active approach. The severity of the issue in Neukölln was made clear to the Dutch visitors. There are schools with a migrant intake of over 90%, the children come from 162 different countries – the schools are melting pots of cultural backgrounds. 70% of the students are successful in finishing their studies, something the Berlin schools can be justly proud of.
Reasons for early school-leaving are wide-ranging but the schools cannot financially sanction parents because of poverty and police intervention has been shown to be ineffective. The partners agreed that the active communication of information by different parties working together and creating a culture of joint responsibility is absolutely necessary to combat early-school leaving. Although more joint work is needed the Dutch partners were impressed by the networking systems in Berlin, for example though “Schulstationen” and “Knackpunkten”.