School Failure

Graduation rates have been increasing in the past couple of years. However, school failure is still the centre of many concerns within the education field, since many young students leave the school system without any qualifications or diplomas.

What is School Failure?

School failure can be observed when a child has difficulty understanding or learning their classes, either in grade school, high school, or in college. Most of the time, this results in grade-repeating or in dropping out.

It can also be defined simply as the leaving of the school system without any diplomas or qualifications.

What are the Main Causes?

There are various causes that may lead to school failure:

Lack of motivation

This situation is less common in younger children than those in high school. Indeed, some do not have the necessary help or attention to be guided in the right path. They might instead follow a less desirable one.

Learning disabilities

The disabilities:

Dyslexia (learning disability in reading), dysorthography (learning disability in spelling), dyscalculia (learning disability in math), dysgraphia (difficulty in writing), and dysphasia (difficulty in the expression and the comprehension of spoken language).

School phobia:

For a child, it’s the intense fear of going to school. It can manifest itself in a panic attack when the child is about to go to school. It usually calms down when the child is certain they’re not going to school.

Gifted children:

School failure isn’t unknown to even little geniuses. Indeed, these gifted children have a hunger for learning much more developed than their classmates’. If this hunger is not satisfied, they will quickly get bored and may end up not completing their classes.

“With geniuses, boredom can instill itself for a while and persist, to the point where the child will have, for example, stomach aches before school or have dermatological problems. It’s a deep boredom that’s eating him away.”

Alexandra Reynaud, author of “Tribulations d’un petit zèbre” at francinfo (translated from French)

Economic Context

Sometimes, the financial and economic situation of a family can influence their children to go towards fields that are more economically lucrative, which might discourage young students and gradually distance them from their studies.

Parents might not be able to afford rapidly rising school fees.

In Québec, high school graduation rates are about 65%, which means that 35% of students come out without a diploma.

Grade Retention

The goal of grade retention is to give a second chance to children who didn’t properly retain the knowledge of their school year. However, repeating a grade can be difficult for the child who might feel as if they failed.

Consequences for Children in School Failure

Adolescence is the time for shaping an identity and an image. It is also the most critical time for social pressure. It can have devastating physical and psychological consequences on a young person.


The child will develop forms of stress and anxiety. They will do everything to avoid going to school, doing their homework, and might even avoid social contact.

Behaviour Issues

A child who is in school failure can develop an aggressive behaviour. He will want to be noticed. That can lead to lying, theft, or running away.


The child will not believe in their capabilities and will have a negative imagine of themselves because of remarks made by family, teachers, or their peers. None of those will fix their grades.

Dropping Out

Dropping out is defined by a student leaving school, either permanently or temporarily, before the end of the last year of the cycle in which they are enrolled; missing their chance of receiving an official recognition of their acquired knowledge.

About Us:

LOVE supports youth to thrive through programs and healthy relationships that build emotional intelligence and help overcome the challenges they face. Our participants emerge from LOVE’s programs with greater resilience, heightened skills, and the confidence to be inspirational leaders.