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€1.8 million for Innovative Programmes in DEIS schools


Posted by Schooldays Newshouind, on 13/11/2017. €1.8 million for Innovative Programmes in DEIS schools Tags: Teaching Education And Politics


Over 35 schools all over the country given funding to pilot innovative approaches to tackling educational disadvantage.

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, today launched the pilot phase of the School Excellence Fund (SEF) in St Vincent’s Girls’ National School, North William Street, Dublin 1.

Ten clusters comprising over 35 urban and rural, pre-school, primary and post-primary schools have been invited to participate in a pilot phase of the new School Excellence Fund. Participating schools will explore new, innovative solutions to tackle educational disadvantage and improve learning outcomes for their students.

The Fund will allow schools to trial creative interventions, for a period of 3 years, the intention being that the learning from successful approaches will be shared across the school sector. Examples of the likely themes of projects include:

  • Improving outcomes for EAL students
  • Improving oral language in pre-school and infant classes
  • Improving students’ well-being through Arts
  • Cross-sectoral approach to the development of mathematical skills
  • Cross-sectoral approach to Science teaching
  • Development of students’ computational thinking skills
  • Ensuring the attainment of higher ability students
  • Improving pupil transitions and parental involvement

    The Minister has set the ambition to make Ireland’s education and training system the best in Europe by 2026. Breaking down cycles of disadvantage and ensuring every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential within our education and training system are key to delivering on this ambition.

    The School Excellence Fund is one of a number of initiatives being taken by the Minister to ensure every child has access to opportunities to fulfil their aspirations in life. The Minister launched an updated DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) plan earlier this year, expanding supports to new schools for the first time since 2009. 79 new schools have been included and 30 are getting a higher level of support since September.

    The DEIS plan is working. In June the Educational Research Centre published their latest evaluation of DEIS which showed improvements in reading and maths amongst students in DEIS schools. For example, the percentage of sixth class students scoring at or below the 10th percentile in reading fell from 28% in 2007 to less than 18% in 2016, and from over 31% to less than 15% over the same period in Mathematics. In the same timeframe, the percentage of high achievers in English and Maths increased. In addition, DEIS schools have a markedly improved retention rate with just a 3% gap existing between DEIS and non-DEIS schools at Junior Certificate level and a 14.5% increase in retention to Leaving Certificate level since the introduction of DEIS (ie 68.2% for the 2001 entry cohort to 82.7% for the 2009 entry cohort).

    Making the announcement Minister Bruton said: “The School Excellence Fund, is designed to ensure that innovative approaches and proposals developed by schools will be supported and rewarded. It is one of a number of steps we are taking to be the best at tackling educational disadvantage, and helping people to fulfil their potential, in Europe. We want to give schools the opportunity to find out not just what works, but what works best. Pilots such as the one being run by the North East Inner City cluster has the potential to be truly ground-breaking, as we work with children from pre-school age to improve their language skills, with wider implications for schools around the country.’

    Clusters

    Ten cross-sectoral clusters of schools have been invited to participate in the first phase of the school Excellence Fund (SEF). These clusters comprise pre-school, primary and post-primary settings.

    Individual clusters are involved in a wide range of activities, all of which are focused on improving learning outcomes for pupils/students.

    For example:

  • A cluster of primary and post-primary schools in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford plans to work on the development of oral literacy in a cross-sectoral way that will build confidence and confidence in pupils and students as they transition from primary to post-primary school.
  • A cluster of primary and post-primary schools in Rathangan, Co. Kildare is planning to develop a consistent approach to the teaching of Mathematics to facilitate a smooth transition as pupils/students transfer to second-level. This will involve teachers adding to their subject-specific knowledge and their subject-specific teaching skills in the area of Mathematics.
  • In Cork city, primary and post-primary schools are working on the development of students’ computational thinking skills with a particular focus on Mathematics.



    info
    Cluster 1
    Cluster 2
    Cluster 3
    Cluster 4
    Cluster 5
    Cluster 6
    Cluster 7
    Cluster 8
    Cluster 9
    Cluster 10
    Location of cluster
    Balbriggan
    Dublin North Inner City
    Inchicore
    Enniscorthy
    Rathangan
    Athlone
    Cork City
    Clonmel
    Limerick City
    Easky Sligo
    Number of schools in cluster
    1 post-primary, 2 primary
    4 primary, 4 pre-schools
    1 post-primary, 2 primary
    1 post-primary, 2 primary
    1 post-primary, 2 primary
    1 post-primary, 3 primary
    1 post-primary, 1 primary
    1 post-primary, 2 primary
    1 post-primary, 2 primary
    1 post-primary, 3 primary
    Theme proposed by cluster
    Improving outcomes for EAL students
    Improving oral language in pre-school and infant classes
    Improving students’ well-being through Arts
    Improving problem-solving an oral language skills
    Cross-sectoral approach to the development of mathematical skills
    Cross-sectoral approach to Science teaching
    Development of students’ computational thinking skills
    Development of students’ computational thinking skills
    Ensuring the attainment of higher ability students
    Improving pupil transitions and parental involvement


    The School Excellence Fund initiative will include a research and evaluation element that will involve schools documenting and learning from their efforts and the outcomes of their work and involvement with the Departments Inspectorate. This will facilitate the dissemination of good practice to other schools.  The Monitoring and Evaluation Framework being developed under DEIS will have a particular focus on the implementation and outcome of programmes piloted by schools supported by the School Excellence Funds.


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