Written Answers - Education Schemes.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 675 No. 4

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  495.  Deputy Charles Flanagan  Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   the funding in each year 2005 to date in 2009 for both breakfast and after-school clubs; the number of both breakfast and after-school clubs in each year from 2005 to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7563/09]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science (Deputy Seán Haughey): Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  The majority of the 692 schools currently participating in the School Completion Programme operate breakfast clubs or other meal provision as well as after school clubs and homework clubs. These measures are considered to be key elements of the supports provided by 124 School Completion Programme projects throughout Ireland.

After-School Supports provided under the School Completion Programme focus on the personal and social development of young people, aiming to enrich their overall educational experience by providing fun activities that tap into the many talents of young people. Programmes that focus on activities like Drama, Music, Art, Craftwork and Sport enable children to develop a range of creative and sporting skills. These activities help to boost self-esteem, have positive consequences for the classroom and are particularly important for academically weaker students.

The School Completion Programme encompasses both primary and post-primary levels and focuses on young people between the ages of 4 and 18 years. SCP is a key component of DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunities in Schools) the action plan for educational inclusion, which discriminates positively in favour of children and young people who are at risk of early school leaving.

The objective of the School Completion Programme is to provide a range of interventions in areas of disadvantage that support the retention of young people in education. The programme aims to develop local strategies to ensure maximum participation levels in the education process. Core activities include targeting individual young people of school-going age, both in and out of school, and arranging supports to address inequalities in education access, participation and outcomes. The programme has developed an integrated approach involving primary and post primary schools, parents, relevant statutory, voluntary and community agencies.

The 124 projects include 81 projects originally selected to participate in SCP in 2002 and 43 new SCP projects created in 2006/07. A total of 224 post-primary schools and 468 primary schools are now participating in the School Completion Programme. The programme is funded on a multi-annual basis under the National Development Plan (NDP). The funding allocation to the School Completion Programme since 2005 is as follows:

2005 —€24m

2006 —€24.7m

[373]2007 —€31.16m

2008 —€31.3m

Breakfast clubs provide a caring and supportive environment where young people can engage with their peers in a social setting. This also provides an opportunity to prepare for the school day. Parents are also encouraged to become involved in running breakfast clubs.

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