Barriers to Education

There can be many reasons for being an early school leaver or a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Many of these people face various challenges that can all be considered as barriers to education. These barriers can e.g. be medical diagnosis such as Asperger’s, ADHD or anxiety as well as social problems as poor upbringing, lack of positive role models or low self esteem. It can also be barriers like poor literacy and/or numerical skills or barriers related to integration problems.

Please find below a number of barriers to education identified by the SOS-Network.
Best Title Education Barrier Age Gender Country Topic Abilities
Absence and lack of self-confidence

The student works as an apprentice in a group of five people of the same age. He feels provoked by the other students and refuses to work. The trainer doesn't understand the attitude of the student and his wish to work by himself. The student rufuses to work in a team.

20 male Germany Motivation, Confidence (lack of), Participation completes his duties
ADD diagnosis and problems with anxiety

ADD diagnosis and anxiety problems

25 male Sweden Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Anxiety, Concentration (lack of) has a lot of knowledge
Aggressive behaviour - ethnic minority

The boy has six brothers and sisters. His parents barely speak the German language and can’t support their children in school. They cannot support the integration into German society. The student has got a bad attitude. His behaviour is harsh against his colleagues.

17 male Germany Social Behaviour, Motivation, Violence, Punctuality (lack of), Minority
Aggressive behaviour and panic attacks

The student behaves aggressively towards others.

20 female Finland Depression, Panic attacks
Aggressive behavious connecting to upbringing in foster care

Student's behaviour is rather aggressive and some of the classmates are afraid. She has lots of absences from the college. She got pregnant during the first year at college.

17 female Finland Social Barriers, Motivation, Bullying, Participation, Care or foster home, pregnancy
Alcohol abuse

During the work placement period in a folk club restaurant she socialised with new friends working in the same place and after work time they went out to some pubs. She went back home drunk and very late in the night. She missed the work the morning after.

21 female Sweden Abuse, Alcohol
Asperger's Syndrome and mental health issues

The young person has Asperger's Syndrome and a history of mental health issues. The young person has self-doubt and needs constant reassurance that what they do is correct and has difficulty with basic decision making.

20 male United Kingdom Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Mental Barriers, Anxiety, Insomnia, Depression, Aspergers

She suffers from asthma and she can find it difficult to breathe. This usually happens during really hard physical activity, like running a long distance or hard work for example.

17 male Spain Asthmatic
Asthmatic and problems with attendance

The apprentice has got days of absent in the workshop also in school. In parts it’s founded on illness but for some days he has not got an apology. He is not very open for criticism. He tries to conceal his days of absent in the vocational college from the trainer-team.

23 male Germany Social Barriers, Participation, Asthmatic
Brain injury causing cognitive difficulties

She has a brain injury which causes cognitive difficulties such as violent temper and problems with concentration and the ability to recall skills. Neither physically or mentally she can live up to a requirement of full working hours. She often suffers from anxieties and insomnia.

18 female Denmark Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Anxiety, Brain damage
Depression and anxiety problems

Problems with anxiety

24 female Sweden Anxiety, Depression
Depression and anxiety problems

She has depression and anxiety.

23 female Sweden Anxiety, Depression
Depression and low self confidence

She suffers very badly with depression. She finds it hard to gather up the energy to go to her training course.

25 female Ireland Self-esteem, Depression
Developmental delay

The student has difficulties in understanding oral instructions.

19 male Finland Development delay
Difficult home life and negative experiences in the past

Past Negative Experience - this young person feels that school years have not been productive as he has been excluded from 2 different schools, mainly down to lack of attention/effort, resulting in bad behavioural patterns.

16 male United Kingdom Social Behaviour, Homeless, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Disruptive, diagnosed with ODD and ADHD

He is currently serving time in prison. He is an early school leaver. He is disruptive and has attended and dropped out or been asked to leave several training courses. He was also kicked out of secondary school aged 15.

26 male Ireland Prison, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

She has dyslexia. For this reason she has some problems with reading and writing. She wants to have the instructions given by someone who tells her what to do or show her how to do it. She doesn't like to read instructions and to have too much stress.

18 female Germany Stress, Dyslexia
Dyslexia and concentration difficulties

Student's comments: 'I couldn't keep up with the school programme, because I have been ill many times since I started school. I don't understand Maths.'

15 male Poland Concentration (lack of), Dyslexia
Dyslexia and discalcula causing stress

He is very weak academically - both in linguistic formulation and comprehension. At the same time he suffers from dyscalculia.

17 male Denmark Dyslexia, Dyscalculia
Easily stressed

During the work placement in a plant nursery in pistoia, Italy, he was stung. We did not consider it very dangerous but we sent him at home because he said that he was tired and sleepy. The weather was also very hot temperature at that moment.

22 male Sweden Social Barriers, Self-identity
Extended learning difficulties and problems with concentrating

The student doesn’t attend classes or he comes in late. He has difficulties staying still.

18 male Finland Participation, Learning Barriers, Concentration (lack of)
Girl with severe language difficulties

A girl with severe learning difficulties, and a mental age of 9.

17 female Spain Literacy/Numeracy difficulties
Gypsy background

Lack of interest in her family about her studies. No study habit at all. Repeated absences promoted by her parents.

15 female Spain Punctuality (lack of), Family, Minority, Culture, Literacy/Numeracy difficulties
Hyperactivity and problems with concentration

Hyperactivity. Difficulties in concentration.

16 male Finland Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Hyperkinetic discorders, ADHD

Hyperkinetic disorders, Short periods of concentration, Disorders in remembering aural material, Disorders in attention, memory and association in learning process, Slow pace of learning, Sysgraphia

14 male Poland Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dysgraphia

Barriers to Learning & Employment