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Action Plan announced for Disadvantaged Schools

Posted by Schooldays Newshound on 14/06/2016. Action Plan announced for Disadvantaged Schools Tags: Education And Politics Teachers

A new Action Plan for disadvantaged schools will be published by the end of this year, Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton announced (Monday).

Minister Bruton today visited a primary school in north Dublin to lay out his initial plans to improve opportunities for children from disadvantaged areas, as part of his first major public engagement as education Minister. This reflects Minister Bruton’s wish to make tackling disadvantage a major theme of his Ministry.

The new plan, which will constitute an updated DEIS scheme, will draw on international best practice for using the education system to increase opportunities and outcomes for children from disadvantaged areas. Among the measures expected to be included in the plan are a series of pilot schemes aimed at introducing measures which have been shown to work well in improving results for disadvantaged children and students.

The plan is expected to include targeted measures in the areas of:

Supporting school leadership. We are lucky in Ireland to have exceptionally strong school principals in disadvantaged schools – even small improvements in supports for and retention and performance of school leaders in these schools can have a dramatic impact on outcomes.

Networks and clusters for DEIS teachers and schools – including greater supported self-evaluation. Stronger networks of peer groups for teachers can help develop new methods and improve outcomes.

Teaching methodologies. There is evidence that, for example, changing the way literacy is taught to children who struggle can achieve major improvements in results.

Explore ways in which the work of schools could be better integrated with other state supports within the community.

In consultation with Minister Zappone, greater use of Home School Community Liaison, which has been shown to work well.

The results of pilot programmes will be carefully monitored before any decisions around mainstreaming are considered.

Minister Bruton visited St Joseph’s primary school in Coolock today, to meet with children and to discuss with staff the impact of the various supports already provided and hear their ideas for what more can be done.

The DEIS scheme – the Action Plan for Education Inclusion – was commenced in 2005, and provides an increased level of State supports to over 800 schools in disadvantaged areas. St Joseph’s is a school which qualifies for the highest level of extra supports under the scheme.

The DEIS scheme, which has resulted in improved outcomes in schools involved is currently being reviewed after ten years in operation. The Programme for Government commits to publish a new Action Plan for Education within 12 months – Minister Bruton plans to exceed that target by publishing the plan by end 2016.

Speaking at today’s announcement, Minister Bruton said:

“You can’t achieve a prosperous economy without a fair society, and you can’t support a compassionate society without a strong economy”.

“In few areas do we have more capacity to achieve our goal of a strong economy and a fair society than education. By getting our system of supports for schools in disadvantaged areas right, we can have huge impact on the life prospects of children – increasing their chances of learning well in school, of going on to higher education, of entering and remaining in the workforce, and of avoiding the many problems that too often impact on families in these areas”.

“This is why I plan to make disadvantage a major theme of my Ministry and why I plan in doing this to focus above all on improving educational outcomes for these children”.



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