Good quality early childhood education can help level social differences, because it supports the children in greatest need: those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Therefore, EU education ministers and the Commission have agreed to aim to offer places in early childhood education/preschool to 95 % of all children from four years of age. An EU working group is currently developing methods to help Member States monitor the quality of their provision.
EU funding totalling €8 billion (2014-2020) will contribute to Member States’ efforts to increase the number of pupils leaving school with the necessary skills to pursue further education and find a job. Such basic skills include reading, mathematics and science. EU-funded research has highlighted the categories of children who are particularly vulnerable to dropping out of school and put forward possible solutions to help them stay in school. For instance, the EU finances the individual coaching of young people in danger of leaving school without a qualification and has helped to fund a new school in Sweden to help early school leavers return to education. Children from schools across Europe can also work on common projects through eTwinning and the School Education Gateway, which are EU-funded online platforms that connect schools.