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School Completion Programme to be maintained

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 26/06/2015. School Completion Programme to be maintainedTags: Education And Politics

Clare Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has received a commitment from Government that funding levels under the School Completion Programme (SCP) are to be maintained.

Set up as part of Department of Education and Skills (DES) DEIS Strategy, the scheme aims to increase the numbers of young people staying in primary and second level school. SCP projects provide a range of supports and interventions designed to support approximately 36,000 children throughout the country who have been identified by local management committees as being at risk of educational disadvantage.

Speaking in a Seanad Adjournment Debate in response to Senator Mulcahy's request for clarification on future levels of funding for the Programme, Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs said his Department is committed "to ensuring that there is no diminution in the school completion programme services."

"The School Completion Programme is an important service within the agency's educational welfare services. It is highly regarded as a key response in securing improved educational outcomes for children and young people at risk of early school leaving. I am pleased to confirm for the Senator that there will be no cuts to the programme," he said.

Minister Reilly noted that a review of the Programme by the ESRI is "almost complete".

"The review is an important initiative in regard to planning for the future development of the school completion programme. The review will assist in identifying the reforms necessary to consolidate the programme on a sustainable footing for the future. The review is being overseen by a steering committee involving officials of the Child and Family Agency, my Department and the Department of Education and Skills," he added.

Senator Mulcahy responded: "I warmly welcome the Minister's confirmation that funding is not to be cut in County Clare or any other county.

"This hugely important scheme has benefited thousands of children across Ireland in the 13 years since it was established. It has had a significant positive impact on levels of young people's retention in primary and second level schools and on numbers of pupils who successfully complete the Senior Cycle or equivalent. Up to now however, there had been fears that the Programme could face a reduction in funding in the future"

The SCP focuses on targeting and providing supports to young people identified to be most at risk of early school leaving and includes identifying and supporting children at risk of not reaching their potential in the educational system because of poor attendance, afterschool supports; mentoring programmes; and therapeutic interventions. Nationally, the SCP operates in 470 primary schools and 224 post-primary schools. There are 124 local SCP projects employing 248 full-time, 627 part-time and 2,211 sessional and other staff.

"There are two projects in County Clare," according to Senator Mulcahy.

"The Clare projects include the Ennis school completion programme, with an allocation in the 2014-15 academic year of €255,947, and the Kilrush school completion programme, with an allocation of €119,978. The Ennis project involves four primary and two post-primary schools, while the Kilrush project involves one primary and one post-primary school. All school completion projects including the two in County Clare will be notified of their allocations for the 2015-2016 school year, "added Senator Mulcahy.

See here for more information on the School Completion Programme


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