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17/06/2014 - Profiling Challenges in the Education Sector in Donegal

 

Education Challenges in Donegal 2012” , a report produced by the Economic Security Sub-group of the Children’s Services Committee is being launched today by Mr. Paul Hannigan, President LYIT.

 

Following a series of budget reductions in the Education sector the Economic Security Sub-group commissioned research to establish their impact in Donegal.  This research was carried out by the Research and Policy Unit in Donegal County Council and funded by Councils Social Inclusion Unit.

 

The Report highlights that while the reductions have been applied in a uniform manner across the country their impact is more severe where high levels of deprivation previously existed and it is widely acknowledged that Donegal has, for many years, experienced some of the highest levels of deprivation and poverty in the state.

 

Speaking before the launch Mr. Liam Ward, Chair of the Economic Security Sub-group commented on the strong correlation between high levels of deprivation and education attainment. “By creating further challenges to disadvantaged families in terms of access to educational opportunities and thus limiting careers choice, the potential for unemployment and poverty traps are increased and the social fabric that builds families is undermined. The implications of reducing resources needs to be recognised and addressed to prevent any further erosion of the skills and knowledge base within Donegal.”

 

Principals, students, parents and a range of professionals were consulted as part of this research and the findings highlight the importance of support services to school including the Education Welfare Officer and the Education Psychologist. Teaching staff value these highly and the report calls for additional funding for these services.

 

Students identified the critical role of Special Needs Assistants in the classroom as well as Learning Support and Resource teachers in supporting children and young people with additional needs.  

 

Issues for parents include the cost of books and voluntary contributions and confusion around the School Transport Scheme.

 

The Donegal Children’s Services Committee comprises a range of organisations and agencies whose remit is to engage in joint planning and coordination of services for children and young people in the county. Its purpose is to secure better developmental outcomes for children and young people and two of the five outcomes set nationally are that children will be supported in active learning and that they will be economically secure. The recommendations from this research report will inform the Children and Young People’s Action Plan currently being developed by the Children’s Services Committee.

 

 

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