Written Answers - Educational Disadvantage.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 649 No. 1

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  400.  Deputy Brian Hayes  Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   the number of children graduating from primary schools here over the course of 2005, 2006 and 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8747/08]

  401.  Deputy Brian Hayes  Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   the number of children that entered secondary schools here over the course of 2005, 2006 and 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8748/08]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Mary Hanafin): Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  I propose to take Questions Nos. 400 and 401 together.

Final data are not yet available on the number of pupils leaving or entering schools for the 2007/2008 school-year. Data on the numbers of pupils leaving National Schools and entering aided Second Level schools in 2005 and 2006 are contained in the following table.

Enhancing attendance, progression, retention and attainment are central to DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) the action plan for educational inclusion, which has being implemented in 873 schools comprising 670 primary schools (338 urban/town schools and 332 rural schools) and 203 second-level schools. This represents a shift in emphasis away from individual initiatives, each addressing a particular aspect of the problem, with the new plan adopting a multi-faceted and more integrated approach. This is the first time that an integrated educational inclusion strategy has been developed for 3–18 year olds in this country.

The key principle of early intervention, to identify and help children at risk of leaving school early, is a major component of DEIS, with a continuing emphasis being placed on the development of effective transfer programmes for pupils making the transition to second-level, by building on the existing work of the HSCL scheme and the School Completion Programme in this area.

The School Completion Programme was established to directly target those in danger of dropping out of the education system and is a key component of my Department’s strategy to discriminate positively in favour of children and young people who are at risk of early school leaving. In line with current thinking, the Programme favours an integrated cross-community and cross-sectoral approach based on the development of local strategies to ensure maximum participation levels in the education process. It entails targeting individual young people, both in and out of school, and arranging supports to address inequalities in educational access, participation and outcomes. A key component of the School Completion Programme (SCP) is developing strong links between primary and post-primary schools in disadvantaged areas.

[242]The Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) Scheme is a key intervention to improve the educational outcomes of children from disadvantaged areas by promoting active cooperation between their parents and teachers and encouraging community involvement. Through their work with parents, HSCL officers seek to raise parents’ awareness of the need to encourage their children to work hard at school and to help parents to improve their own capacities to enhance their children’s educational progress and to assist them in developing relevant skills.

Progression from primary to second-level is recognised as a crucial transition period in a child’s education. Initiatives such as Familiarisation Days and week-long transfer programmes for new entrants to second level have been shown to have very positive results in helping children to make a smooth transition to their new school. The strengthening of such programmes is being prioritised under DEIS.

Graduates from Ordinary classes in National schools

2007 2006 2005
Number of pupils who went to a publicly aided Second Level School in the State Final data not yet available 51,250 51,943

Numbers entering first year of Second-Level

2007 2006 2005
Number of pupils who entered first year of Junior Cycle in a Second-Level School Final data not yet available 55,173 55,477


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