Guidance at school: mentoring, accompanying and the continuation of studies (L’orientació a l’institut)


Guidance at school: mentoring, accompanying and the continuation of studies (L'orientació a l'institut)

Affiliation(s)/ Institution

Institut El Castell, Esparreguera, Barcelona.

Email addresses

Project funded by

Institut El Castell

Promoter name and country

Institut El Castell (Esparraguera – Barcelona)

Partner(s) name and country (if applicable)

Regional Government of Esparraguera (You Are There Project)

Type of provider


Area of implementation

  • urban
  • local

Context and motivation of the project - legislative background/obligations, institutional policy, institutional structures

The Institute currently has 4 ESO school years and 2 Batxillerat school years. The 1996-1997 school year has begun, coinciding with the implementation of the LOGSE (General Organic Law of the Educational System). Due to various circumstances that have gotten worse, coinciding with the economic crisis, the rate of students with special needs has increased significantly in our school in the last years. Dropping out of ESO is another factor that has gotten worse due to the increased difficulties of the students and their families, which represents a severe risk factor in the current socio-economic situation. The fact that the training offered by the town does not include Professional Training Cycles in any of its Institutes has also resulted, in the last years, in Batxillerat students being enrolled who have not obtained a space in Professional Training or who have problems moving, which increases the Batxillerat drop-out rate and makes it crucial to support and guide these students, as we will show later.

Aims of the project

The general objective of our proposal is to promote the continuation of studies for the entire student body, especially those at risk of dropping out.

Target group

  • students

Description of the target group

Our proposal addresses the entire ESO and Batxillerat student body (aged between 12 and 16 years old), and especially boys and girls who are completing a phase (4th-year ESO [15/16 years old] or 2nd-year Batxillerat [17/18 years old]), or those who due to various difficulties are at risk of dropping out from any of their studies that we offer, whether obligatory or not.

Staff (selection, evaluation, training, promotion)

One of the principles guiding organisation of the school is co-responsibility. The Management Team manages its proposals using a Coordination team, made up of Coordinators at every level of ESO and Batxillerat; they are worked on with the Teaching Teams and then make a return. This ensures that the information is well spread and that the contributions are managed. At the same time, work is carried out in committees on specific aspects: Curricular Units, a Diversity Committee and a Social Committee. The objective of this model is to promote inclusion of the various teams and it is very important to pick initiatives to be able to make adequate decisions. This dynamic is extended to the model of orientation and ensures extensive participation by the professors in the responsibilities of mentorship and attention to diversity in the student body; which are the guidance strategies at the school.

Methodological approach, activities implemented

The working strategies that we will use will be curricular flexibility and mentoring activities via shared mentoring, which we will explain in more detail later. For every group/class, a group mentor has been assigned along with a co-mentor. The customised mentor system which we will call INIDIVIDUAL MENTORING means that the teaching body as a guidance counsellor will have between 12 to 15 students under their wings, with whom they will have to establish and maintain a good personalised relationship. At the same time, they are responsible for obtaining data on each student and putting them in an INDIVIDUAL MONITORING FILE which will be used to collect information throughout their academic life. “You Are There” Project This project, which has been running since 2006, addresses 4th-year ESO students who do not quite fit into any of the itineraries of the final phase, who present good personal adaptation, but with difficulties in accessing an ordinary curriculum. These are generally unmotivated students in academic work, who show more practical and handling skills, and who have an orientation towards Intermediate Vocational Training once they finish ESO. Thanks to the collaboration agreement with the City Council, it is possible for these students to complete their training in external placements (companies, professionals in various sectors) in timetables starting from Tuesdays in the morning, in order to track them at the Institute. Within the structure of the Institute, this project is presented under the formula of a Professional Development Course, where around 12 4th-year ESO students normally participate. Training in the external workshop receives an external assessment every trimester, which is counted with elective marks. The students following this path pass the ESO by a majority and continue their training.

Results and impact - data of program internal/ external evaluation, beneficiary satisfaction, the impact of the didactical practices at individual and institutional level

Improvements in the continuation of studies Improvements in behaviour and coexistence. The data shows an increased degree of satisfaction in all sectors regarding important aspects at the Institute. The families sector shows a generally higher degree of satisfaction, while the professors are more moderate in their assessments.

Conclusions, lessons learned

We understand that in a changing environment like the current one, with a future full of uncertainties, it is important to pay close attention to what future social and working demands will be. The objectives of obligatory education must prioritise inclusion, especially at a time when inequalities are being fostered (Ferrer et al.).

Directions of further development/ Transferability, replicability

The results that we present, however, would not have been possible without the strategies of mentoring and adaptation to educational needs having truly been shared by the Teaching Team and having been a part of the culture of the school. Two aspects have also been essential: work in involving and gaining the participation of the families, as well as the work on networking, the promotion of students’ participation and the connection to the environment. Lastly, and as stated at the beginning, we have assessed that the strategies of our model are valid for other contexts and institutions with the objective of training and supporting people of different ages and situations. The connection and adaptation to the needs of others constitute the basis of any educational action and, despite the speed of social, labour and cultural changes, these two factors continue to be essential, more than ever.

Type of ESL (early school leaving) practice

  • Prevention

Web references (url, social media presence)

Parameters on which the practice is applicable (check those appropriate)

  • Measures and profiles
  • Objectives and needs