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Referral Services

Indicator Phrasing

% of targeted learning spaces that offer referrals to specialized health, psychosocial, and protection services
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of targeted learning spaces that offer referrals to specialized health, psychosocial, and protection services

French: % d’espaces d’apprentissage ciblés qui offrent des orientations vers des services de santé, sychosociaux et de protection spécialisés

Spanish: % of targeted learning spaces that offer referrals to specialized health, psychosocial, and protection services

Portuguese: % de espaços de aprendizagem específicos que oferecem encaminhamentos para serviços especializados de saúde, apoio psicossocial e de proteção

Czech: % cílených vzdělávacích míst, která nabízejí doporučení na specializované zdravotní, psychosociální a ochranné služby

What is its purpose?

This indicator measures the proportion of schools or learning spaces able to offer effective referral services to help meet the wellbeing (health, psychosocial and protection) needs of children. Where schools or learning spaces do not have the capacity, expertise and mandate to meet children’s wellbeing needs, it is necessary to refer them to specialised services. Effective referral is crucial to ensuring that children are protected and receive appropriate wellbeing support.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

1) Determine the total number of schools or learning spaces targeted by the action. This data can be gathered from project level documentation.


2) To measure this indicator, determine whether a school or learning space has an effective referral system in place. To do this, decide what criteria need to be met to consider a school or learning space as ‘offering referrals’. For example, the learning space might need to:

  1. Have referral mechanism in place through which children can be referred to specialised service providers.
  2. Have trained teachers and education personnel on how to (i) identify children in need of referral to specialised service providers and (ii) refer them to such services.
  3. Have identified and mapped specialised service providers so that connections between the school or learning space and those services can be made.

3) Once criteria have been decided upon, consult key stakeholders (for example, school or learning space management, teachers or other education personnel) on questions to help determine whether there is a functioning referral mechanism in place. Recommended survey questions for measuring this indicator can be found here.


4) Decide how to score the relevant criteria and a threshold that needs to be met in order for a learning space to be considered as ‘offering referral’ (for example, 80%-100% of the criteria/above questions have been answered ‘yes’).


5) To calculate the percentage, divide the number of school or learning spaces that offer referrals to specialized health, psychosocial, and protection services by the total number of targeted schools or learning spaces and multiply by 100 to convert it to a percentage.

Disaggregate by

Disaggregation of the data can be done by the type of school or learning space (formal versus non-formal), education level (pre-primary, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, vocational, higher/tertiary), or by type of referrals provided (i.e., health, psychosocial, protection, etc).

Important Comments

1) This is INEE Indicator 2.9.


2) Proof of successful past referrals may be considered an important criterion to indicate that referral mechanisms are not only in place but are working. However, referral data can be highly sensitive and should by default not be shared. If requested, data should only be shared as per the need-to-know principle which means that it should be kept as minimized and anonymised as possible to ensure that no person is able to find out about the specific case information. Therefore, it is recommended to disaggregate data as little as possible when sharing.


3) Related indicators:


       - KRI: Number of girls and boys referred to specialised services (e.g. child protection, health, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS))

    Global Education Cluster

       - % of cases identified in need of psychosocial/mental health services who are referred to specialist services


       - number of students who have been referred to external services for psychosocial support

    Child Protection Minimum Standards (CPMS)

       - 23.2.3 Number and % of safe and ethical referrals of children to child protection services made by education workers


       - number of completed safe referrals made to specialised service providers according to referral pathways during [specify the period] (see Completed Referrals indicator)

       - % of target group members aware of the available protection services or the organization’s referral mechanism (see Awareness of Protection Services indicator)

This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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