Nantes (330.000 inhabitants) is undergoing increased levels of redevelopment and regeneration, following the demise of such traditional local industries as shipbuilding and shipyard activities. Indeed, both the local and metropolitan area economies are growing, balancing activities like IT services, biotechnology, financial activities with industry (aeronautics, food processing, mechanical materials). More than 25.000 companies provide 167.000 jobs. Nantes is also a University city with high research potential and a pool of skills recognised by local businesses, earning the ‘French Tech’ label assigned to French cities for their start‐up ecosystems (2014).

Education has always been a priority area for Nantes, which considers it central for social cohesion and a sustainable society. Despite its  prosperity, unemployment is still at 14% and youth unemployment at 26%. The city is member of the Education Commission at EUROCITIES and has participated in numerous European projects on Education, including URBACT Gen-Y, Prevent and Stay-Tuned network projects. 

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Despite the larger dimensions of Nantes with respect to Viladecans (Nantes has a total of 4 Educational Territories and 11 General Districts), and the highly complex administration -also for the education system-, our city has managed to successfully integrate aspects of the Educational Innovation Network Good Practice to the work at the district level. This was done thanks to the pilot projects that involved different stakeholders in two city education territories, North and South. The most important challenge for us now is to take the collaborative and 360º education approach experimented within the last 3 years and embedded into the new PEdT (Projet Educatif De Territoire). 

Among specific learning and achievements in Nantes, we have:

  • More integration of ON BOARD’s cross-cutting and networking approaches so as to show an approach that can be used at a wider territorial level.
  • Increased sense of autonomy and flexibility. The ON BOARD Educational Innovation Network and the URBACT local group method allowed us to facilitate innovative initiatives with a real sense of autonomy, while adhering to the rules set out in the French education system.
  • Expanded opportunities and more empowerment to the voices of students. ON BOARD provided the framework whereby schools and teachers could have the opportunity to work together in a common integrated way, enabling the voices of students to be heard (for example, Patrick Vasse from a secondary school and Françoise Gillot-Gravouil from a primary school, who knew each other before, finally got to work together on a project called “Body and well-being”, with students as the creative protagonists).
  • New links amongst community members who support education innovation. Our URBACT local group included new external stakeholders and pedagogical professionals, establishing new connections and opportunities depending on each one’s capacity, for example, Air Pays de la Loire, Aelea Linea, Agissons pour l’emploi, ADN Ouest and the University of Nantes.
  • Progress using communication tools and channels for collaboration in education in new ways, in large part thanks to the lively approaches and innovative uses of existing media shown by Viladecans, while continuing to use current channels (like magazine publications) to reach target audiences.

Nantes' EducationalInnovation Network KeyCommunity Members

Slide Leisure, culture, sports, youth organisations: ACCORD, Vlipp video, Aelea Linea, Art School, Sequoïa Scientific Center, On Air Environment NGO 
Nantes University Leisure, culture, sports, youth organisations: ACCORD, Vlipp video, Aelea Linea, Art School, Sequoïa Scientific Center, On Air Environment NGO Department of Youth, Education, Gardening and Green Yards and Health 
Deputy Mayor for Education 
2 Secondary Schools Stendhal and Sophie Germain 2 Elementary schools and kindergarten Dolto and Bergson
 Entrepreneurs: ADN Ouest and Agissons pour l’Emploi NGO’s of entrepreneurs
 Families Teachers and Headmasters of Primary, Secondary and Vocational Schools





Teachers and principals




involved in ON BOARD projects and activities



directly participating in activities and meetings



participating in ON BOARD activities and meetings



that have contributed to the project


Local entities

participating in ON BOARD activities and meetings


Mayors and councillors

who have participated in meetings or events of the network


People from the municipal staff

involved in the project


Pilot Projects

initiated in your city





Nantes voices

See whatON BOARD partner citieshave achieved

Diversity bolstered ON BOARD’s learning and exchange project. They all represent a diversity of focuses and interests in education, but they also have in common Education as a strategic development priority for their cities