In Europe, Action Education has focused its action on improving educational provision for people in extremely precarious situations, and for people living in precarious housing, and is developing its programme around three countries: France, Bulgaria and Romania. Since 2021, Action Education has been working in the Val-de-Marne region, where there are major issues surrounding the education of children living in precarious housing conditions. There are currently 1,064 people living in shanty towns or squats on 29 sites in Val-de-Marne (Dihal platform, Résorption-bidonvilles, July 2023).
To gain a better understanding of the dynamics of stakeholders in this area and of potential needs, Action Education conducted an exploratory study on "Educational issues and dynamics of stakeholders surrounding the schooling of children living in precarious housing in Val-de-Marne (94)". This led to a better understanding of the needs of the players involved, and the potential reciprocal contributions of Action Éducation and potential partners. The challenge for Action Éducation was to involve local public, educational and voluntary sector players as early as possible in the preparation of this study, so as to ensure a collective construction approach, guaranteeing the sustainability of the partnerships and actions to be developed.
A number of key issues have been identified:
- Promoting links between schools and families by creating opportunities for exchange and mutual understanding
- Promoting links between local players to create coherence in the actions to be implemented
- Raising awareness and training professionals working with these children about the challenges of extreme poverty
As part of this exploration, we refined our understanding of educational issues by hearing directly from children. For example, we ran a joint project of Philo-art workshops at Rosalind Franklin primary schools. We now need to maintain this dynamic of consultation and collective action on targeted issues and involve those directly concerned. We hope that this will enable us to improve the way we deal with educational issues with the families who are furthest from school, particularly those living in precarious housing in the area.