European Commission proposed a Council Recommendation on Pathways to School Success


In June 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a Council Recommendation on ‘Pathways to School Success’, aiming to enhance the inclusive dimension of education by reducing the share of low-achievers in basic skills and countering early leaving from education and training. The Recommendation proposes a broad approach to understanding of ‘school success’ based on the key principles of engagement, achievement and well-being, and sets out a framework for a systemic approach addressing learners, education personnel, and different levels of governance. The Recommendation is accompanied by a Policy framework for school success.

The proposal was developed following public consultation and an independent assessment of the implementation of the 2011 Council Recommendation on policies to reduce early school leaving. The new proposal will repeal and replace the 2011 Council Recommendation when adopted. ETUCE has contributed to the public consultation with a Position on the “Pathways to School Success” – Fight against early school leaving and underachievement (November 2021). In this Position, ETUCE highlights among other things that sustainable national public investment to education is an essential prerequisite to fight against early school leaving and underachievement of the students, as well as ensuring better career opportunities, high job security and social protection, and decent salary for teachers and other education personnel.

The Council Recommendation on Pathways to School Success outlines a policy framework to address the early-leaving and low-achievement in education and training including monitoring, prevention, intervention and compensation measures, with a strong focus on prevention and early intervention. IT aims at supporting schools in developing a whole school approach and it calls for supporting school leaders, teachers, trainers and other education personnel to ensure that they have the knowledge, skills and competences, as well as time, space to support students at risk of early drop out or underachievement. The Council Recommendation promotes data collection and monitoring systems in the EU countries.

ETUCE welcomes the initiative and invites its member organisations to lobby their country’s representatives in the Council of the EU to adopt the Proposal. However, ETUCE notes the important gaps in the Proposal that should be fixed before it is adopted:

  • The Proposal should not only focus on measurable basic skills and formative assessment methods, but it should be broadened to enhance teaching and learning on all key competences, including multilingualism, democratic citizenship and European values, learning to learn, and creativity;
  • The Proposal highlights the autonomy of school leaders and governance boards, as well as involvement of learners in schools and classroom decision-making but omits completely the professional autonomy and flexibility of the curriculum for teachers and other education personnel, as well as the importance of involving education personnel in all school decisions;
  • The initiative should recommend to the Member States the essential involvement of education trade unions in the framework of effective social dialogue in designing and implementing the necessary educational reforms that this policy will entail.