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Fostering cooperation between local authorities and schools using the mirror technique

  • Belgium
Target Audience
  • Youth/pupils/students
  • Educators/academics
  • Local community organisations/NGOs
key themes association
  • Formal/informal education
  • Local strategies/cities
  • 2016


City services in cooperation with the central helpdesk and the pupil guidance centres.

Type of Organisation: Other

Project description

The city of Antwerp invested in an education policy division with following strategic goal / mission.

‘All schools in the city of Antwerp work together with the city services to ensure that children, teenagers and youngsters get and take the opportunity to develop competences and obtain qualifications that lead to a wide personal formation and gives them access to higher education and or / the labour market.’

To foster the cooperation between the local authority and the schools the education policy division offers support to all the schools in the city and /or makes sure that schools have easy access to the support from other city services, the local police, welfare, etc.

One of the tools the education policy division offers to schools are instruments to reflect/ mirror on the approach / the school policy in coping with problematic behaviour and or safety in and in the neighbourhood of the school.

The mirror technique allows schools to self-monitor their results on coping with all kinds of safety issues.

We work with two approaches

  1. We supply the school ( staff, teachers, pupils) with digital online questionnaires and checklist so schools get feedback on the perception staff, teachers, pupils have on the approach and methodology on topics concerning safety and wellbeing in and in the neighbourhood of their schools. The data are gathered anonymously to give everybody involved a possibility to contribute without peer pressure or pressure from the schools hierarchy.


    City staff will do the analyses, will discuss the data with the contributors and will offer specific support on issues that were raised. Example: pupils and teachers are complaining about bullying. The city offers to support a training in self-confidence for the pupils involved and contacts an organisation (ngo) in the support network to work with pupils and staff on a structural solution.

  2. Truancy mirrors. Truancy is considered to be a signal more than being a problem on its own. Youngsters are playing truant because they feel bad in their school, are afraid to be harassed, lack the money to go on a field trip,


    We collect data from different (similar) schools to benchmark the success of their approach on pupil guidance and truancy prevention and/or follow up in comparison with these schools. The data the city gathers are a combination of data we receive from the Flemish government, the local city administration and the data supplied by the pupil guidance centres. All data are made anonymous and are kept private to avoid the data being used to rank schools.

Our truancy advisor and school support team will discuss the results with the staff and the pupil guidance and will share good practices learned in the other schools.

Each year 10 schools that did very well, as well as 10 schools that saw a rising number of pupils playing truant are contacted by the truancy advisor to talk about their results. Next to that any school can ask the city for a truancy mirror or a follow-up report later on.


Truancy mirrors and questionnaires are available in English.

Questionnaires on safety and wellbeing are available in Dutch.

Contact details


Francis Wellesplein 1
2018 Antwerpen

Contact person: Luc Claessens
Telephone: (+32) 3 338 33 81
Luc [dot] Claessensatstad [dot] antwerpen [dot] be (Email) | Website

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Fostering cooperation between local authorities and schools using the mirror technique