Logo Association Tournesol

The Tournesol establishment: to educate and support different young people towards employment

Summary : Since 2011 the Tournesol (Sunflower) school, situated in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, welcomes 30 young people who show problems with cognitive or mental functions and offers them personalised pedagogy and an environment that's adapted to their needs. From November 2015, the association will support these young people towards employment.

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  • Start date : September 2011
  • Implementation site : Paris 12th Arrondissement
  • Budget : 210000 €
  • Source and details on funding : National Department of Education, Mayor of Paris, parents helped by the Centre for Parents of disab


  • Association Tournesol
  • 22 rue Gabriel Lamé
  • 75012 Paris
  • Employees : 7
  • Volunteers : 6


Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  07/09/2015 00:00
Opinion of the Committee : Source of inspiration !
Solution(s) : Education Health Job
Country :  France, Île-de-France
Stature of the programme :  Local
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Persons with disabilities, Pupil, students, Adolescents
  • Domain :  Work, Education, Training

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Taking Action together against dropping out of school » (2015)

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : Marchal Olivia , « The Tournesol establishment: to educate and support different young people towards employment », **Journal RESOLIS** (2015)

Background to the programme

The Tournesol association was founded in September 2011 at the same time as the school of the same name. Professionals from the world of health and education have joined forces to offer an establishment that's adapted to young people who present problems with cognitive or mental functions.

Objectives of the programme

- Develop the learning of young people who present problems with cognitive or mental functions
- Increase self-esteem, self assurance and ultimately in independence
- Improve communication capabilities and social connection
Each class has specific learning objectives:
-> Class 1, Early Learning and socialisation, whose main objective is autonomy
-> Class 2, Consolidation and progression in academic learning
-> Class 3, Development of autonomy and openness to the world of work, work on future direction
-> From November 2015, opening a group for young people over the age of 20 with the objective of support towards and in employment.

Implemented actions

The establishment, firstly to educate students between 11-20 years old who show present cognitive or mental problems and secondly to support young people over the age of 20 towards employment from the start of the school year in 2015.
Personalised pedagogy gives priority to the student, their needs and opportunities through an organisation with small numbers and a protective and stimulating environment. It comprises 3 classes of 10 students.
All the young people come four days a week. In the morning, they have 3 lessons of 45 minutes (basic teaching) and in the afternoon, lessons and educational workshops (cooking, climbing, physical expression, theatre ...). The lessons are aimed at the individual progress of each student with the end being, for the majority, continuing education or integration with the workforce in an ordinary or adapted environment.
The teaching staff are trained in special needs and are supported by a multidisciplinary board whose understanding of educational issues, health and the world of work is well recognised.
The support for employment will be made up of around 3 days a week for one year. In employment, Tournesol will participate throughout in the integration a young person within a host company.

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

- With 106 students enrolled in 2011, the organisation is posting almost full numbers since the launch.
- When leaving Tournesol, the youngsters join a wide variety of organisations:
• 46% continue in education (ULIS localised units for inclusive education) SEGPA, 3ème Pro, CAP preparation, practical high school
• 11% found employment in a normal or adapted environment
• 25% have joined a medical or medical-social establishment.
- The health care partners testify to the noticeable positive development of young people.
- Parents give us daily updates on the progress and flourishing of their child.
- The diversity of disorders accepted allows everyone to turn their difference into a strength

Original characteristics

The original feature of this establishment is that it doesn't impose any standard and adapts to the needs of each student thanks to small classes and individualised instruction.
The pedagogy includes fundamentals and educational workshops:
• to do maths through cooking,
• to build self-confidence through physical expression
• to express themselves through theatre
• to work on the link with others through climbing .

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

- Winner of a Carrefour project from the City of Paris
- The association Starting Block organises the professional development workshop via a Handi-valide tutorial with the students
- The Mayor of Paris rents the premises in the 12th arrondissement of Paris
- The Ile de France region has supported the project since its launch through grants
- The Banque Populaire Rives de Paris Foundation has funded scholarships for the most disadvantaged families.
- ARERAM (Association for the Re-education of Children and Re-adaptation of Adults in difficulty) is a partner for the launch of Tournesol Gateway Pro in November 2015. This new group of young people over the age of 20 will be supported towards and in employment.
- Member of MOUVES
- Development followed by BGE PARIF


Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

- In the beginning the establishment was in the 15th arrondissement but had to move.
- Being different, don't go back to administrative standards.
- The cost borne by parents despite the MDPH aid and private Tournesol scholarships.
- Support from the Ministry of Education for one teaching position. The request for funding for a 2nd position is regularly rejected.

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

- Thanks to the support the City of Paris, suitable premises with a playground were found in the 12th arrondissement
- Being under contract with the National Education
- Being entitled to collect the education tax
- Parents are helped according to their problem by the Centres for Disabled People in their department
- The establishment is authorised to receive the education tax which will allow the cost to families to be lowered
- The establishment is seeking scholarships from private funds which allow the costs to disadvantaged parents to be lowered.
- In November 2015, creation of a fourth group for the over 20s in order to support them into employment on a one-year program.

Suggestions for future improvement :

- Obtaining a second teaching post under contract with the local education authority.
- Finance the teaching position for the 3rd class through the collection of the education tax
- Find partnerships with companies for the integration of young people with the workforce (4th group)
- Duplicating the organisation

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

- Support from the department with suitable premises
- Need to be an establishment under contract: the young people therefore have the right to transport that's taken care of by the region
- Supported by professionals
- Welcoming young people with different problems. There is actually strong support between them and their difference becomes a strength.

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