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Save the Children Italia and Fondazione Agnelli present the positive outcome of their initiative against learning losses, carried out during the summer in 9 cities in Italy

A growth in maths and Italian learnings equivalent to the results obtained in 2 and 3.5 months of school, respectively, for primary and junior secondary school students experiencing a variety of situations of fragility in 9 cities in Italy, from Turin to Palermo: this is the outcome of targeted and custom educational programmes carried out during the summer, and wonderful news for anyone – educator or not – who cares about making up for learning losses, and works to prevent the risk of school dispersion.

The outcomes of the Arcipelago Educativo programme were presented today in Rome by Save the Children Italia and Fondazione Agnelli, after being measured and described in one of the first-ever independent impact assessments carried out in Italy using rigorous methodologies to evaluate a controlled, experimental project aiming to contrast learning losses emerging during schools’ summer closures (known internationally as the summer learning loss phenomenon). Co-designed and launched in 2020, after the further erosion of learnings caused by the pandemic, the initiative aspires to consolidate both cognitive and non-cognitive competencies (spanning from alphabetical-functional skills and maths to the motivation to learn, relational and socio-emotional skills).

The absolutely positive results of the impact assessment by IRVAPP (Istituto per la Ricerca Valutativa sulle Politiche Pubbliche) were described by Raffaela Milano, Director of Italy-Europe Programmes for Save the Children, Andrea Gavosto, Director of Fondazione Agnelli, and Barbara Romano, Senior researcher at Fondazione Agnelli, with the participation of Franco Mollica, principal of Istituto Comprensivo Casanova Costantinopoli in Naples, and Elena Crucitti, Head of Arcipelago Educativo for Rosarno Cooperativa E.D.I.

The project’s 2022 edition, which engaged over 1,000 children and youths between 9 and 14 years of age, was implemented in collaboration with 41 primary and junior secondary schools in 17 different institutes in Turin, Milan, Venice-Marghera, Aprilia (Latina), Ancona, Naples, Rosarno (Reggio Calabria), Bari and Palermo; its first step was for teachers to help identify the minors who were the most at risk, and later collaborate with educators in defining individual learning plans to support students’ return to school in September.

 “Even international research tells us that long school breaks, such as the summer holidays, can lead to learning losses,” Andrea Gavosto, Director of Fondazione Agnelli stressed. “The pandemic has unfortunately confirmed the risk we run of such losses, which can penalise especially the most fragile students and potentially lead to school dispersion. That’s why today we must provide didactic programmes to contrast and make up for these losses. Arcipelago Educativo’s impact assessment helps us identify, with scientific rigour, the most effective solutions, and to understand for which students and in which situations they work best. The results not only confirm the project we launched with Save the Children is valuable, but also provide important information for the educational system and for the decision-makers shaping our school policies. Also with an eye to spending the NRRP’s resources in the best possible way.”