Study on effective use of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in preventing early school leaving (ESL)
The overall purpose of the study was to examine the links between high quality early childhood education and care (further – ECEC) services and better performance in general education, and in particular lower early school leaving. The research team reviewed existing international research on the subject as well as that available only in national languages of 34 European countries covered through a network of national researchers. On top of that the new data was collected on the early childhood education and care systems and policies across Europe. The actual implementation and the effects of these policies were analysed through a range of case studies in 10 selected countries (AT, BE, ES, FI, FR, HR, IT, LT, SE, UK). The data collection in case studies was held through additional desk research, qualitative interviews and focus groups(2-3 per case study). Each focus group gathered 6-8 stakeholders (national/regional policy experts or public officials, ECEC experts/educators, primary and secondary education experts/teachers, representatives of parents’ associations) to discuss and share opinions on the stat-of-art and relevance of ECEC provision in the respective countries.
The study revealed where the ECEC and school systems are most commonly failing in terms of quality of services, availability of educational support, barriers to successful transitions between levels and types of education (including from general to vocational) and the related aspects. The study provided policy recommendations on how to improve the quality of ECEC and compatibility between different levels of education so that the achievement of children at school can be improved and early school leaving could be prevented. The study provides evidence for the Commission and Member States within Education and Training work programme, in the fields of ECEC, ESL and social inclusion.