Speedy progress makes children happier and smarter


A new study from the Egmont Foundation shows that intensive learning courses benefit the individual child but also strengthen the inclusion and the learning environment for the whole class.

Intensive learning courses benefit the individual child but also strengthen the inclusion and the learning environment for the whole class. These are the results of a new study from the Egmont Foundation. Both parents and schools recommend intensive learning courses for pupils with special needs. However, especially the teachers experience barriers for extending the courses further.

About a fifth of all Danish children leave the primary school without passing Danish and Math. One in six of the youths do not carry through a secondary education, for the marginalized the number who carries through is one in three.

Education is the key to create a good life no matter the social background. But some have the need for more besides what the common teaching in primary school can offer. A new study from the Egmont Foundation shows that intensive learning courses – so called speedy progress – where the children in a concentrated and limited period are offered targeted teaching in or outside the school strengthen both the well-being and the competences of the children.

Raises the academic level
As a result, 88% of the parents of children on an intensive learning course have experienced their child’s academic level had been raised. 93% of the teachers and school masters experience that children with learning difficulties have benefitted from an intensive course and 60% of the teachers consider the intensive course to be helpful for children with special needs.

Managing Director of the Egmont Foundation’s Support and Grant Administration, Henriette Christiansen, finds a great potential in expanding the intensive courses further.

“Intensive learning has a beneficial impact on children with learning or social difficulties. We should learn from the good experiences and expand what works. For the sake of the children and for the sake of society,” says Henriette Christiansen. She stresses the need for a wide collaboration concerning intensive learning.

“We would like to be jointly responsible for developing and testing even better initiatives. And we urge politicians, schools, volunteers and professionals around the children to join in.”

The parents back up the intensive courses. One of every four parents feels that their child has had or has difficulties keeping up in school and 96% of the parents would accept an intensive course if their child had learning difficulties. Teachers knowledgeable of the intensive courses find the courses helpful in terms of the challenges they face as teachers. Hence 51% of the teachers say the intensive courses not only benefit the individual child but also the entire class and 43% thinks it creates more motivation and an eagerness to learn.

Teachers see barriers for expanding
But especially the teachers also experience barriers for extending the courses further. Half of the teachers find they lack qualifications, four out of five claims that the planning of their work schedule gets in the way of further integration of the intensive courses and both teachers and school masters feel that the extra expenses needed for the intensive courses can stop the development.

Children: Seize the opportunity
When asking the children who have been on an intensive course, they do not doubt that more should have the opportunity. Hence Sean, one of the children who experienced spending his summer holiday going to school as a participant in the learning camp for children placed in care:

“The learning camp has inspired me and given me the urge to pull myself together. Before the camp school was like prison for me – something to get over and done with. At the learning camp the teaching was much more active and spontaneous,” says 14-year old Sean, who has passed two marks up in Danish and Math.

Søren Langager, scientist at DPU, University of Aarhus, recognizes a long term potential in the intensive courses.

“When a child on a learning camp suddenly masters the art of reading it is similar to learning to ride a bike. The child turns over a number of times, but all of a sudden he or she is biking and will be able to do so for the rest of his or her life. Intensive courses can offer the child the feeling of something important and herein lays the great potential,” says Søren Langager.