Fuoriclasse in Movimento was created in 2017 as a network against school dropout, promoted by Save the Children in collaboration with 170 schools throughout Italy. The aim of the project is to promote the well-being of schools to guarantee the right to quality education for all and to experiment with actions of change inspired by students' involvement, inclusive education, and enhancement of the educating community.
Narrative, origins and objectives of the initiative
What kind of project is this? Please give a short description (summary) of it.
In the last few years, the fight against early school dropout in Italy has achieved some timid results, however, it seems to proceed with greater effort. In the five-year period from 2002-2007, the percentage of young people with a low level of education had decreased by 4.5 percentage points, almost a point per year. From 2007 to 2012 the so-called Early School Leavers stopped at the compulsory school license, and only started to fall at a much slower pace of 0.4%, passing in 5 years from 19.7% to the current 17.6% for an army of 758 thousand young people with low educational qualifications and outside the training circuit.
Despite the most important results achieved in the south (-6.8% in Campania, -5.4% in Puglia and -4% in Calabria), dispersion and low levels of learning continue to stagnate in the economically most fragile regions of the south - Campania and Calabria. High levels of early dropout are also observed in the north (in particular in the Province of Bolzano and in Val D'Aosta) and in the Center (in Tuscany), but in these regions the levels of learning are higher on average and many young people have the possibility of returning to the training circuit by attending courses or professional internships.
The data shows that the children of workers born in the '70s, who have dropped out of high school, are still 37% of the total number of young people of that generation, compared to 8.7% of children from the highest social class. School dispersion is, therefore, a dysfunction of the education and training system, but it is also a concept that recalls issues related to equal opportunities, accessibility, family and social experiences.
Fuoriclasse is a project aimed to combat school dropout, characterized by an integrated methodology that involves the involvement of all the actors involved (students, teachers and families), and which includes interventions both during school and after-school hours, using methodologies centered on the active participation of young people.
Fuoriclasse in Movimento represents the national development of best practices resulting from the Fuoriclasse Project, initiated in 2011 in Bari, Crotone, Milano, Napoli, Scalea and Torino and currently active in Aprilia.
It is based on a program and on accession criteria, which all the member schools are committed to pursuing. To characterize it is the activity of the Fuoriclasse Council, a consultation path run by teachers and students to identify shared solutions to school problems. The representatives work on four areas: school areas, teaching, peer relationships and adults, and collaboration with the territory. Teachers and parents are adequately supported throughout training and accompaniment of the implementation of activities with students.
Thanks to the activities of Fuoriclasse in Movimento, Save the Children reaches over 20,000 students and 2,000 teachers.
Please tell us why, in general, this project is considered a successful one?
Thanks to collaboration with the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation, a program to combat early school dropout has been submitted for the first time in Italy to an impact assessment. The evaluation was carried out in the three years between 2012-2015, involving schools in the 5 cities of Bari, Crotone, Napoli, Milano, Scalea) and in four regions (Calabria, Campania, Lombardia, Puglia).
Impact assessment data are collected in the e-book "Fuoriclasse, a successful model to combat early school leaving" (download the report - in Italian language). The evaluation revealed the following: arriving late for lectures have halved, with a drastic decrease also in chronic latecomers. In secondary schools participating in Fuoriclasse, the average number of absences has been halved, from 12 to 6 days per year. Chronic latecomers have been reduced by 8.6%, 5% of students have improved their performance in 2 fundamental subjects, and disinterested households for children's schooling decreased by 8.1%. The greater regularity in the frequency begins to give the first results - also in terms of school yields, which improved by 5%.
As for Fuoriclasse in Movimento, built on the Fuoriclasse experience (2012-2015), the evaluation results will be available at the end of the first three-year period, in 2021.
And why would you consider it a grass-roots initiative?
The Fuoriclasse project stems from two experimental initiatives in Naples and Rome (2010-2011), which saw the consultation of the main actors involved in the phenomenon of early school dropouts: students and teachers. Starting from their point of view, a model of intervention was defined and then experimented in the years 2011-2017 in the cities of Bari, Crotone, Milano, Napoli, Scalea and Torino.
Fuoriclasse in Movimento was also created by teachers and headmasters: they are the ones that have defined - through local meeting - the Manifesto and the Membership Criteria of the movement.
Focus groups are organized annually with representatives of beneficiaries to collect their opinions regarding the activities, with the aim of improving the impact of our projects by enhancing the protagonists.
Finally, Fuoriclasse in Movimento avails itself of the “support group”, over 30 teachers and headmasters from the different participating regions who act in first person as agents of change in reference contexts and play a supporting role in the training of other teachers, in experimentation of innovative activities, in the promotion of the movement at a local and national level and in supporting Save the Children in the knowledge of schools, facilitating dialogue with the association as a territorial antenna.
What challenges needed to be solved in this project?
Fuoriclasse in Movimento is based on the full participation of students, teachers, and families: this is the main challenge. The project aims to strengthen the full involvement of the beneficiaries so that they themselves are the promoters of the change they hope to bring to their school.
Is this initiative based on any particular theoretical framework? Which one?
Fuoriclasse in Movimento is inspired by the pedagogy of rights. The UN Convention on the Rights of Children and Adolescents establishes that children and young people, individually and collectively, are persons holding rights and that adults, starting from the family up to the international community, must respond to the protection and promotion of these rights (as specified in the UN Convention).
The Convention places at the center the person as the holder of rights (right holder) in his relationship with those who bears the duty to respect and promote them (duty bearer). Duty bearers (governments, institutions, families and individuals) are bound to respect, protect and promote human rights. The right holders may claim their rights from duty bearers, but they must also respect the rights of others.
In fact, being the holder of rights entails responsibilities - first of all towards oneself, and consequently towards others. A human rights-based approach seeks to strengthen duty bearers' responsibility towards human rights through political, economic and legislative changes or at the level of attitudes, awareness, behavior, practices, models and values. Adults, the family, and the school up to the highest national and international institutions, should always take into account the best interests of the child and his rights in making choices that concern him and should be responsible at all times. The English word, accountability, conveys an even stronger concept of simple responsibility: that of responsibility to be accountable.
(Appendix) Is your intervention standing on its own or is it a part of a bigger and more holistic approach?
Please describe the group(s) intended as beneficiaries of this initiative
Why has this group (have these groups) been chosen?
Fuoriclasse in Movimento has chosen to be present, as a national network, in all Italian regions. The member schools have been chosen in the contexts with the greatest risk of early dropout, favoring metropolises (Milan, Rome, Turin, Genoa, Palermo, ect.) and rural contexts. Have a look at the story map to learn more (Italian only).
Could you please tell us something about the relative size of the (of each) target group, within the school/university population, region and/or country?
Between 2017-2020 of Fuoriclasse in Movimento, a widespread presence is expected in all Italian regions, involving over 170 schools, 20,000 minors, 2,000 teachers and 1,000 parents. The intervention strategy promotes an impact on the entire school environment for a total of 30,000 minor indirect beneficiaries.
Which social characteristics are taken into account and what is the geographical area covered?
The target is represented by students who attend schools that operate in heavily disadvantaged areas from the point of economic and social view, with a significant presence of illegal activities in the south as well as in the north of Italy.
On which level is the project implemented?
School level: primary and low secondary school.
Please describe the political and socio-economic factors that you believe have been important enablers for your initiative
Did the initiative have political support?
Fuoriclasse in Movimento is sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Research.
How did it fit with local, regional or national policies?
Fuoriclasse in Movimento aims to influence bottom-up educational policies, starting from the individual school context. Networking reinforces the intuitions and good practices developed by students, teachers and parents, with the aim of systematising and promoting them nationwide and in institutional settings.
Who are the stakeholders supporting the initiative?
Students, teachers, families, schools, territorial associations, institutions.
Are there particular demographic changes present that are influencing the project?
What is the institutional strategy and culture of the (educational) organization?
Save the Children International, formerly known as the International Save The Children Alliance, is a worldwide non-profit organization that aims to improve children's lives. There are 30 Save the Children organizations around the world. The vision of Save The Children is "A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation" and their mission is "To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve an immediate and lasting change in their lives".
Save the Children Italy was established at the end of 1998 as a non-profit organization and started its activities in 1999. Today, they are an NGO (non-governmental organization) recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They carry out activities and projects aimed at both the children and girls of the so-called developing countries and those living on the Italian territory.
To what extent does the initiative have an influence on institutional policy (or potential influence) of the (educational) organization?
The project is considered a national good practice and it contributes to the improvements of the schools, enhancing the educational environment, the methodology and, in the end, the quality of the education but it has no direct connection with government policies at any level. The costs of the project are sustained by private donors like the Bolton Group, Bulgari, Fondazione Con il Sud e Save the Children.
(Appendix) Is there public support for your initiative and the issue it addresses?
The project is supported by the Ministry of Education at a national level, but there isn't any formal agreement or economic support.
(Appendix) What other factors do you think have been important for the success of this initiative?
Please describe the overall initiative design and the methods and tools used to reach the goals
Please describe the specific activities carried out.
- Take the principles of the manifesto as their own and pay constant attention to the inspirational values of the movement (inclusive teaching, student leadership, educating community);
- Adopt Fuoriclasse consultancy as a stable and transverse school practice;
- Execute three school welfare actions autonomously in the three-year period 2017-2020.
In a Fuoriclasse school, “you can learn …..”
A Fuoriclasse school is a school like many others, yet it is also very different. It is a place of learning and knowledge, in which one master the ability to build relationships, as these are the cornerstones upon which our future society are built on. It is different because in this arena judgement turns into listening and welcoming. It is a place in which one shares knowledge with everyone. In a Fuoriclasse school, everyone can learn from one another, because every life is unique and can offer some lessons to be learned. Every student is unique, and so are his thoughts, which run free, jump over obstacles, overcome limits. No one would ever want to leave a school like that: open to any student and parent, a starting point for growth where everyone is included. It is a school that includes, listens, guides, builds, and educates.
You can learn that students should always be involved and consulted because they are what a school is supposed to be about. They are the engine of change.
A Fuoriclasse school promotes student participation, by taking their point of view into consideration and by enhancing them. It makes students part of the planning and implementation process, and ensures their constant participation at communal activities.
You can learn that teaching is not an end but a means that must be shaped on the basis of each and every student’s qualities, character and individuality.
A Fuoriclasse School promotes its goals through workshops, in order to teach, motivate and cultivate one’s talent, so that it can guarantee the right to quality education for all, via inclusive practices. Last but not least, it values emotional education, in order to combat any form of bullying or discrimination.
You can learn the fundamental role of families, community and geography in building a welcoming and safe net around students, which enables them to see school as one of the best places to grow up in.
A Fuoriclasse school engages parents, which strengthens the teaching community, and empowers all adults in the fight against school dropout. It promotes the creation of time and space dedicated to the establishment of a “practical community”, suitable for educational and pedagogical exchanges between teachers; lobbies to ensure after school and holidays opening. It protects students from abuse and mistreatment, through guidelines and procedures that are known to students, teachers and families.
You can become one of the Fuoriclasse School's members by adopting the “Fuorciclasse Councils” as a stable practice and, in the three-year period 2017-2020, carry out some actions that include the following, adhering to the values of the program:
- Organize days of in-depth study of the subjects, favoring the artistic and multimedia languages, to get students more involved in learning/teaching.
- Set up a “student week”, to reinforce the sense of belonging to the school.
- Re-qualify school spaces with the children, to enhance the school as a common good to be taken care of.
- Dedicate moments of listening during class and faculty meetings, to guarantee opportunities for consultation on topics concerning students.
- Organizes exchange meetings between students and local institutions, to deepen issues addressed at the school.
- Start the school year with a "week of welcome", to encourage a more equitable definition of the first classes of secondary schools of one degree following the observation and the systematic knowledge of the students.
- Set the listening time in a circle to reinforce the relational dynamics.
- Experiment with "bridge paths" between primary and secondary schools, to promote the knowledge of the new school contexts among the students.
- Conduct sentimental education seminars to prevent all forms of discrimination and bullying at school.
- Transform the classroom setting by abandoning the frontal lessons in all classes, experimenting with new ways of participatory teaching.
- Promote knowledge and enhancement of the territory by organizing educational outings for each class.
- Create a school library, with contributions from students and parents, to enhance the reading skills of young people and offer cultural opportunities open to citizens.
- Organize activities dedicated to children and adults, to promote educational and convivial moments between students, teachers and parents.
- Activate a twinning with a school in your city, enhancing the educational and training offer, providing opportunities to exchange knowledge of students from other cultures.
- Implement preventive activities against abuse and mistreatment at school in synergy with all the participants in the territory.
What were the key roles (teacher, student, management team etc.) within the project?
- Students, teachers and parents participate in the training activities (Fuoriclasse meetings, courses for teachers and parents) and carry out the school's well-being actions autonomously.
- Local educators support schools in their improvement process regarding the following: inclusive education, student leadership, educating community.
- The management team elaborates, starting from local needs and resources, the national intervention strategy.
- The group of lecturers/executives (the “support group”) is consulted for the consolidation of the movement and its strategic development.
What ideas, tools, theories, models, methodology (etc.) have been used to reach the goals?
Fuoriclasse in Movimento fights school drop-out through a prevention-based approach. It is based on the multi-level action principle (school, family, community), required for the direct involvement of multiple actors (students, teachers, parents) and simultaneously implements multiple activities (school/extracurricular) in an integrated approach.
What are the final revenues of the project?
Please describe if your project ensured its sustainability
If so, how did you ensure the short-term impact of the project?
Fuoriclasse in Movimento works daily for the sustainability of the initiative. As members of the movement, each school is asked to carry out the actions of the school's well-being and to participate first hand in the improvement of educational and learning contexts.
And how did you ensure the long-term impact of the project?
Fuoriclasse in Movimento is continuing the first pilot Fuoriclasse. Activities selected for the continuation are aimed at reinforcing content and methods within the school work promoted by the project. Greater involvement is expected of the teachers in planning the interventions, and also the possibility of mutual learning among trainers and teachers for managing the activities. In each city they
organized the technical tables for comparison and evaluation involving teachers, students, parents and teams. The target is to ensure that the activities identified respond fully to the context and needs identified in each territory.
Has your project been replicated elsewhere?
Please tell us about the resources used in this initiative
What was the budget for the initiative?
For each year, the budget for the realization of the project in the 170 schools is about 700,000 euros.
How much did the initiative depend on volunteers?
How were the costs perceived by the public/the sector/other stakeholders?
To what extent did the initiative achieve its objectives?
Please describe the evidence to support the success of your initiative.
The first phase of Fuoriclasse in Movimento was launched in 2017 and will end in July 2020. The evaluation of the project is ongoing and the final results will be available in 2021.
Did the intervention lead to any unintended (positive) outcomes?
What indicators (quantitative and qualitative) have you measured to demonstrate success?
(Appendix) How did you evaluate/monitor this intervention?
The interventions are externally evaluated by the Agnelli Foundation, a non-profit, independent social sciences research institute, established in 1966 in Turin (Italy) – where it is headquartered – by the will of Gianni Agnelli, for the centennial of the birth of Fiat’s founder, Senator Giovanni Agnelli. Its charter states its mission is to “research in depth and spread knowledge about the conditions on which Italy’s economic, scientific, social and cultural progress depend”, and to work to support scientific research.