The story of excluded pupils
The Youth 4 Youth project is an international partnership that aimed to use the training methodologies of Community Reporting and Theater of the Oppressed to explore the topic of early school leaving with young people at-risk of exclusion from mainstream school. The UK and Italy used the Community Reporting approach and Spain and Hungary used the Theater of the Oppressed approach. All four countries combined the approaches and used different exercise from each to enhance their methodologies.
The project was funded by Erasmus+ and delivered with young people across four European countries. These included People’s Voice Media (Manchester, UK), Artemisszió Foundation (Budapest, Hungary), La Xixa Teatre (Barcelona, Spain) and Consorzio ABN consorzioabn (Perugia, Italy) with independent evaluation carried out by Elan Interculturel (Paris, France).
Each organisation worked with a group of young people aged between 13 and 21 to capture the experience of ‘mainstream education’ and ‘reasons for early school leaving’. We listened to stories about school in general, about changes young people would make to school, and about some of the different reasons young people may leave education early. The young people’s responses were then captured and shared using Community Reporting or Forum Theater or a combination of both methodologies.
In the UK, we used conversational story telling technique with around 50 young people and several teachers and school support staff around the following themes:
- Thoughts on mainstream education in the UK
- Things you like or enjoy about school
- Things you would want to change about your school
- Experiences of why some people are disengaged from school or leave school early
A few of the stories collected from the UK appear below.
There were many themes that all the countries found. These included:
- Young people feel that school causes a lot of stress
- Negative perceptions of and relationships with teachers affect young people’s learning – for example, a lot of young people felt that they constantly argue with teachers, and a lot of teachers were perceived as being too old to understand young people, too strict and not creative with their teaching methods
- Home and personal lives can have a negative impact on young people’s learning and school attendance – some young people spoke about carer duties, about a lack of support from parents, about parents divorcing, family bereavement and bullying
- School is considered boring – the current teaching styles and curriculum do not meet everyone’s needs and lessons need to be more practical, creative and/or vocational
The 2 methodologies were successful in capturing the experiences. Trainers found that participants were encouraged to tell their story as well as give a platform for their voice to be heard using these approaches. Participants said they became more empowered using these approaches and felt that they had a voice. The stories and performance were presented at multiplier events in each country with discussions on the findings and results. These events were made up of teachers, parents and pupils and explored areas they could develop together. The full report on this and the other activities can be found on the Y4Y web site.
Are you a Community Reporter with a story about your experience or school. If so please post your story here and it will be added to this page and used to inform the project.