Cover: Education of EU migrant children in EU Member States

Education of EU migrant children in EU Member States

Published Nov 16, 2016

by Emma Harte, Facundo Herrera, Martin Stepanek

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Research Questions

  1. What are the key trends in EU migration across member States in Europe, with a focus on EU-migrant children?
  2. What are the key challenges EU migrant children face at school?
  3. What interventions exist across Member States to facilitate the integration of EU migrant children?

This policy brief looks at the education of EU migrant children in the context of intra-EU mobility. It examines some of the literature and data on the topic in order to identify key differences between EU migrant children and non-migrant children. There are disparities in educational performance between migrants and non-migrants. The brief outlines some policies and practices which are aimed at improving educational outcomes and the progression of migrants in some EU Member States, namely in responding to the demands and challenges in education systems.

Key Findings

There are clear disparities in educational performance between EU migrants and non-migrants and expected life chance outcomes.

  • • As well as displaying a higher tendency towards early school leaving compared with the non-migrant population, EU-migrant youths (15–24 year olds) are more likely to not be in education, employment or training (NEETs) compared with their non-migrant counterparts.
  • • The education performance gap between EU migrant and non-migrants children is due to a number of intersecting factors, including linguistic capabilities, parental influence and socio-economic status.

A number of measures are being implemented across Member States with promising results.

  • • An integrated and comprehensive approach as well as going beyond the school working in partnership with community organisations can deliver some promising results.


  • Building a strong evidence base could be beneficial in understanding what works when responding to EU-migrant children's educational needs. Moving forward, it would be useful to build an evidence base on which policies and practices work in terms of reducing the migrant education deficit and investing in children for their personal, educational and future workforce development.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was commissioned by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and conducted by RAND Europe.

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