Educational Disadvantage Centre

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Media News Articles

TRUE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS ON VULNERABLE CHILDREN YET TO BE REVEALED, SAYS BARNARDOS CHIEF

Irish Examiner, Wednesday July 1st 2020

It is only in the coming months that the true impact of the Covid-19 crisis on vulnerable children and disadvantaged families will start to emerge, Barnardos has warned, writes Evelyn Ring. READ MORE

TRAVELLERS AND EDUCATION

Letter to the Irish Times, Anne McCluskey. June 30th 2020. READ HERE

THE IRISH TIMES VIEW ON ANTI-TRAVELLER DISCRIMINATION: A VOICE IN THE SEANAD

Irish Times, Tuesday June 30th 2020

The powerful symbolism of Eileen Flynn’s appointment should not obscure the problems faced by Travellers in Ireland. READ MORE

EDC AND NORTHSIDE PARTNERSHIP

Interview on Near FM with Challenger Coordinator, Jeannette Beirnes where she talks about Northside Partnership’s Challenger Programme. The EDC and Northside Partnership have been working together for many years, providing oral Irish supports to local students with the cooperation of IoE student volunteers. LISTEN HERE

WHAT LONG TERM IMPACT WILL SCHOOL SHUTDOWN HAVE ON CHILDREN?

Irish Times, Saturday June 27th 2020.

Closing schools over Covid 19 is set to cause lasting harm, particularly for children with special needs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, writes Carl O’Brien. READ MORE

TWELVE THINGS COVID-19 HAS TAUGHT US ABOUT EDUCATION AND SCHOOLING

Irish Times, Monday June 29th 2020

School is more than a physical building. It is the fulcrum which draws us together on a daily basis, writes Deirdre McGillicuddy. READ MORE

SPECIAL SUMMER SCHOOL PROGRAMMES SET FOR CABINET APPROVAL

RTE News Friday June 12th 2020

The Cabinet is expected to sign off on proposals today for a special summer programme for students who attend disadvantaged schools. 890 primary and post-primary schools will be asked to opt in to the programme, which will run for a week most likely in August prior to the reopening of schools in September.  READ MORE

EXTENDED SCHOOL CLOSURES WILL HIT MOST VULNERABLE HARDEST

Irish Times, Tuesday June 9th 2020

Six-month gap in schooling is a substantive rupture in childhood.  As we emerge from lockdown and the immediate threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to talk about the impact of school closure on the younger generation, in particular children and the burden of risk that is being borne by them in the health policy decisions that are taken, writes Dympna Devine. READ MORE

'WHERE DO YOU DO HOMEWORK IF YOU'RE HOMELESS?'

Independent.ie, Wednesday February 26th 2020

An INTO initiative asked primary school teachers to discuss with pupils the fact so many people do not have a place to call home. Ask a child what they think of homelessness and they sum it up. "Homelessness is heart-breaking. It makes me feel upset. It's scary, devastating, dark and lonely, and the Government doesn't care." These are the words of Conor Carey, a nine-year-old third class pupil from Clonburris National School in Clondalkin, Dublin, writes Kathy Donaghy. READ MORE

OVER HALF OF IRISH TRAVELLERS HAVE LEFT SCHOOL BY THE AGE OF 15

RTE News, Wednesday February 26th 2020

Over half of Irish Travellers have dropped out of school by the age of 15 with just 1% going on to higher level education, writes Teresa Mannion. READ MORE

LIFE AFTER CARE: ‘WE’RE ALL JUST TRYING TO GROW UP’

Irish Times Saturday, February 15th 2020

‘There are over 6,000 kids in the care system and there are 6,000 different stories’, writes Patrick Freyne. READ MORE

SURVEY OF DEIS SCHOOLS IN GALWAY AND OTHER URBAN CENTRES FINDS GROWING NUMBER OF HOMELESS CHILDREN

Galway Bay FM News.   Wednesday January 22nd 2020

A survey of 22 Deis schools in Galway, Limerick, Cork and Dublin has shown that an increasing number of young children are living in temporary accommodation.  It found one in four children in some of the most disadvantaged primary schools are homeless.   Principals are warning the real figure could be higher, according to the Irish Examiner.  A survey of 22 Deis schools in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick shows more children are living in temporary accommodation. READ MORE

RISE IN PUPILS WITHOUT PROPER HOMES

Breakingnews.ie. Wednesday January 22nd 2020

As many as one in four children in some of the most disadvantaged primary schools in the country are homeless, with principals warning that the real figures could be even higher.  Schools are reporting that the number of children aged between five and 12 presenting as homeless have increased significantly in the past three years writes Daniel McConnell. READ MORE

NURTURE ROOMS: HOW SCHOOLS ARE BOOSTING PUPILS’ WELLBEING

Irish Times Tuesday 3rd December 2019

Scoil Mhuire in Wexford is using a new approach to address children’s social, emotional and behavioural needs. Many other schools are now following suit, writes Michelle McBride. READ MORE

MIND THE GAP: AFFLUENT STUDENTS HAVE FIRM GRIP ON TOP UNIVERSITY COURSES

Irish Times, Monday 21st October 2019

Despite access initiatives, a large divide remains between rich and poor at third level, writes Carl O’Brien. READ MORE

SCHOOL KIDS REST BETTER ON UNI PLAN

The Sun, Monday October 14th 2019

School and home interventions can improve children's poor sleep habits a new study claims, writes Aoife Bannon. READ MORE

STUDY SAYS SCHOOL INTERVENTION CAN HELP POOR SLEEPERS

Irish Examiner, Monday October 14th 2019

Simple interventions at school and at home can improve children's poor sleep habits, writes Sarah Slater. READ MORE

SCHOOL SHOULD IMPROVE SLEEP

Irish Daily Star. Monday October 14th 2019

School and home help can can improve children's poor sleep habits a study shows. READ MORE

SCHOOL INTERVENTION IN SLEEP MAY HELP CHILDREN GET TO BED EARLIER, NEW STUDY FINDS

The Journal.ie   Monday October 14th 2019

A SLEEPING PROGRAMME taught in school and at home might be the answer to improving children’s sleep behaviour, according to a study by Dublin City University (DCU).   As part of the study, 24 sixth-class children in an urban DEIS primary school were taught a sleep-based class by their teacher at school and their parents at home for five weeks. A study of sixth-class pupils found a 21% rise in those going to bed before 11pm after learning more about sleep, writes Orla Dwyer. READ MORE

BEDTIME 'TOO LATE' FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN WHO SUFFER SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Irish Independent, Monday October 14th 2019  

Huge levels of sleep deprivation among 11 and 12 year olds in a disadvantaged area have emerged in a new study showing that a quarter were not in bed before 11pm.  A further one in three (33pc) were only tucked up between 10pm and 11pm.  There was a dramatic improvement in sleep habits after a trial conducted by researchers at the Dublin City University (DCU) Educational Disadvantage Centre writes Katherine Donnelly. READ MORE

DCU STUDY ON HOW TO IMPROVE CHILDREN’S POOR SLEEP HABITS

Schooldays Newshound, Monday October 14th 2019

A Dublin City University study shows a notable improvement in children’s sleep behaviours by implementing a short school and home-based programme.  The link between inadequate sleep levels in children and poor engagement with school is well documented, with poor sleep duration causing excessive daytime sleepiness, which leads to problems with concentration, attention and cognitive functioning.   This study carried out at the Educational Disadvantage Centre, DCU Institute of Education, has found that by implementing a five-week intervention programme, the attitudes of school children towards their own sleep behaviour, their motivation to improve their sleep health and their approach to using electronic media before bedtime, greatly improves.  READ MORE

STUDY SHOWS SCHOOL AND HOME INTERVENTIONS CAN IMPROVE CHILDREN'S POOR SLEEP HABITS

Irish News, Monday October 14th 2019

Pupils improved their awareness of the negative impacts of the use of electronic media on sleep

Children's poor sleep can be improved greatly by teaching better habits in school and home, research has found.  A Dublin City University (DCU) study showed a notable improvement after five weeks writes Simon Doyle. READ MORE

STUDY PERSUADES PUPILS TO SHUN PHONES BEFORE BED

The Times  Monday October 14th 2019

Primary schoolchildren are three times more likely to believe they should avoid using electronic devices an hour before bedtime after they took part in a study on sleep.   A Dublin City University study that sought to monitor and change the sleeping habits of 24 sixth-class pupils in a disadvantaged area reported an “increased awareness of the negative impacts of the use of electronic media on sleep”.    Before the five-week study, less than one in five children agreed that they should not use electronic devices an hour before bedtime. After the study, almost half of the children agreed with the statement.  The study found that after the “five-week intervention period” where children were asked to record times they went to bed, woke and how they felt, writes Ronan Early

HOT SCHOOL MEALS SHOULD BE A ROUTINE FACT OF IRISH LIFE

Irish Times, Saturday October 12th 2019

Patchiness of Government scheme shows up the extent of food extremes that coexist here, writes Diarmaid Ferriter. READ MORE

IRISH TIMES INTERVIEW WITH PAUL DOWNES: HOT MEALS IN SCHOOLS FOR HUNGER PREVENTION.   Irish Times, Saturday September 14th 2019 

HOT SCHOOL MEALS FOR ALL A SOLID START IN BATTLE AGAINST CHILD POVERTY

Irish Times, Saturday September 14th 2019

We trail our European cousins when it comes to providing nourishment to school children.   It was heralded as a long-overdue opportunity to help children and struggling families. A Government-funded pilot scheme to provide hot meals to school children was supposed to bring Ireland into line with other European countries.  But records released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Department of Social Protection turned down 470 primary schools who applied to the scheme. While 36 will benefit from the move, campaigners say that free hot meals in schools should be more widely available, writes Peter McGuire. READ MORE

RISE IN NUMBER OF HOMELESS CHILDREN 'DEEPLY DISHEARTENING'. 

Independent.ie   Tuesday September 10th 2019

More than 3,700 children across the country are starting the new school term without a home as the homeless crisis rises to "deeply disheartening" proportions.  The latest Government figures show that 10,275 adults and children accessed emergency accommodation in July - an increase of 4pc compared to last year, writes Ian Begley. READ MORE

HOMELESS CHILDREN WELCOME THE RELIEF OF RETURNING TO SCHOOL

‘They’re so excited because they haven’t been able to see their friends since school finished’

Irish Times, Wednesday 28th August 2019

Many parents will be celebrating the reopening of schools this week but for families living in emergency accommodation the relief is even more keenly felt, writes Shauna Bowers. READ MORE

67% OF DEIS STUDENTS WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE BUT LACK CONFIDENCE IN ABILITY TO DO SO

Irish Examiner, Monday August 19th 2019

A study carried out by academics involving secondary school students and parents also found that social factors were also an obstacle in some cases to moving into higher education - including a fear that they would not fit in, writes Noel Baker, Senior Reporter and Social Affairs Correspondent.  READ MORE

JUNIOR INFANTS FROM POORER AREAS MORE LIKELY TO LACK KEY SKILLS: LACK OF MOTOR ABILITIES DUE TO SCARCITY OF PLAY SPACE OR DEARTH OF FACILITIES, RESEARCH SHOWS

Irish times, Monday August 5th 2019    

Junior infants from disadvantaged backgrounds with restricted space to play are far more likely to lack crucial motor skills essential to coping with schoolwork, new research suggests. In Deis schools, 54 per cent of children were below average compared with 15 per cent in non-Deis schools, according to the study, writes Mark Hilliard. READ MORE

NUMBER OF PUPILS MISSING SCHOOL SOARS

Irish Examiner, Saturday 13th July 2019

School absenteeism cases on Tusla’s national waiting list have surged to the highest recorded level due to the rising number of homeless children, insufficient numbers of staff, and increasingly complex cases such as students with mental health issues and special needs, writes Noel Baker, Senior Reporter and Social Affairs Correspondent. READ MORE

DISADVANTAGED SCHOOL SCHEME FAILS TO RESOLVE UNFAIR SYSTEM, REPORT FINDS

Irish Times, Thursday 4th July 2019

The disadvantaged (Deis) school scheme has failed to resolve the State’s “unfair and unequal” education system under which children from less affluent backgrounds are “destined to struggle,” the Oireachtas education committee has warned. Generic uniforms without badges and more financial back-to-school support needed, says committee, writes Sarah Pollak. READ MORE

CLASS AND EDUCATION IN IRELAND: ‘DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS CANNOT THRIVE’

Irish Times Saturday 9th February 2019

No Child 2020: We invited ‘Irish Times’ readers to give their views on the issue. READ MORE

FREE HOT MEALS COULD BE INTRODUCED IN ALL SCHOOLS UNDER PROPOSED PLAN

Irish Times Monday January 28th 2019

Regina Doherty says she wants to introduce annual eye and dental checks for children.  Free hot meals could be made available to every school in the country under a plan to be proposed by Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty.  Ms Doherty will on Monday [28th January 2019] launch the first Hot School Meals scheme before a larger pilot initiative is introduced to 36 schools in September.   Some 7,200 children will benefit from the scheme this September at a cost of €1 million for this year and €2.5 million in a full year.  The pilot will initially be targeted at primary schools which do not avail of the dinner option under the Department of Social Protection’s School Meals Programme and do not have canteen or kitchen facilities for preparation of the hot dinners on site writes Jennifer Bray, Political Reporter. READ MORE

ONE IN FOUR PRIMARY SCHOOLS HAVE HOMELESS PUPILS, SURVEY FINDS

Irish Times, Friday January 25th 2019

The Irish Primary Principals’ Network says many schools provide a ‘safe haven’ for vulnerable and homeless children.  More than one in four primary schools across the State have homeless children who are suffering from anxiety, poor self-esteem and exhaustion.  That is the finding of a survey conducted by the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) which says many schools are providing a “safe haven” for vulnerable children, writes Carl O'Brien.  READ MORE

NO CHILD 2020: THE PROJECT AND ITS FIVE POLICIES

Irish Times, Saturday January 19th 2019

No Child 2020 is a new initiative by The Irish Times, providing a sustained focus on child welfare and children’s issues over the coming year, writes Ruadhán Mac Cormaic. Inspired by the Democratic Programme issued by the first Dáil a century ago, we explore the problems facing children in Ireland today and offer solutions that would make this a better country to be a child. READ MORE

‘CLASS GAP’ IN TOP UNIVERSITIES REVEALED IN LATEST ENROLMENT FIGURES

Fee-paying students much more likely to attend top Dublin-based universities

Irish Times, Monday January 7th 2019

Students from fee-paying schools far more likely to attend a handful of top Dublin-based universities, according to new figures that highlight the extent of the “class gap” in higher education. Students from fee-paying schools account for between 25 and 30 per cent of new undergraduates at Trinity and UCD in the current academic year. By contrast, students from fee-paying schools account for less than 1 per cent of students at institutes of technology in Athlone, Galway-Mayo, Tralee, Letterkenny and Waterford, writes Carl O’Brien. READ MORE

MINISTER DOHERTY ANNOUNCES BUDGET PACKAGE

Minister Doherty announces budget package to deliver increases across core welfare payments and specifically impact on children in need: €361 million of additional social welfare expenditure provided in Budget 2019  :  Targeted increases for children and lone parents. READ MORE

PRESCHOOLS IN POORER AREAS TO BENEFIT FROM EXTRA STAFF AND FREE MEALS FOR CHILDREN

Deis-style support model to be extended to early years care and education

Irish Times, Monday 12th November 2018

Research shows that children from middle-class families outperform those from less well-off homes even before they begin primary school, writes Carl O’Brien.  Preschools in poorer areas will receive higher staff to child ratios and free meals for children under a new strategy to boost outcomes from disadvantaged backgrounds.  The plans are based on the Deis (Delivering Equality of Opportunity) model which provides extra resources for primary and secondary schools. The plans will be outlined in the Government’s early years strategy which is due to be published next week, according to informed sources. READ MORE

EDUCATIONAL DISADVANTAGE STARTS FROM AGE 10

 OECD Website 23rd October 2018

The academic performance gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children develops from as early as 10 years old and widens throughout students’ lives, according to a new OECD report.   Equity in Education: Breaking down barriers to social mobility finds that, on average across OECD countries with comparable data, more than two-thirds of the achievement gap observed at age 15 and about two-thirds of the gap among 25-29 year-olds was already seen among 10-year-olds.

The report finds a strong link between a school’s socio-economic profile and a student’s performance: students who attend more socio-economically advantaged schools perform better in PISA. Yet, on average across OECD countries, 48% of disadvantaged students attended disadvantaged schools in 2015 and there has been no significant change in segregation levels in most countries over the past decade.  READ MORE

FERGUS FINLAY: WE HAVE UTTERLY FAILED TO BREAK CYCLE OF POVERTY

Irish Examiner, Wednesday 12th September 2018

We have “failed utterly” to break the cycle of poverty, according to the outgoing chief executive of Barnardos children’s charity, Fergus Finlay, writes Evelyn Ring. READ MORE

STUDENT NATIONAL WELLBEING PLAN ‘RISKS BEING STICKING PLASTER’

Irish Examiner Tuesday August 7th 2018                 

A new policy to deal with mental health issues in schools risks being a sticking-plaster solution unless therapists are put in place, a leading educationalist has said.  Dublin City University associate professor of education (psychology) Paul Downes described the Department of Education wellbeing policy for 2018 to 2023 as being largely a repackaging of policy operating in second-level schools for the past decade.  Published recently by Education Minister Richard Bruton, the policy sets out how schools should provide for general wellbeing of pupils, as well as dealing with issues arising as young people face mental health challenges.  Prof Downes said that the expectation that schools would have sensory gardens and safe rooms or other spaces for distressed or anxious students is an important development for schools’ physical infrastructure, writes Niall Murray. 

But while recognition of the need for school-based supports for pupils experiencing anxiety is welcome, he said it is belated and long overdue.  It is an area we are playing ‘catch up’ in compared with many European countries,” said Prof Downes, whose research expertise deals largely with student mental health and wellbeing.  He said staffing aspects of the policy appear to be highly questionable, having an emphasis on universal supports and programmes in schools.

While there is an expectation that a student can access one-to-one meetings with qualified staff during a personal crisis, the policy advocates allocating a teacher or other school employee as a ‘one good adult’ to guide students through a difficult time.  Prof Downes said the plan is weak on targeted supports for students experiencing moderate risk and chronic levels of need.  “Putting a teacher in the role of ‘one good adult’ for students is not an adequate substitute for qualified emotional counsellors or therapists in and around schools,” he said.  Many students will not wish to confide highly personal issues to a teacher, even assuming adequate confidentiality policies are in place in schools,” said Prof Downes. 

The Institute of Guidance Counsellors has already qualified its welcome for the plan with a warning that its members are best placed and the only qualified second-level staff to deal with situations where students have mental health challenges.  Prof Downes said directing students to largely underfunded external services appears to be a substitute for substantial investment in emotional counsellors, play and art therapists, or others to work in or link with schools.   “The apparent lack of commitment to fund multi-disciplinary supports in and around schools for emotional and wellbeing issues, including for anxiety-related issues, means this national policy risks being merely a sticking plaster,” said Prof Downes.  In June, his colleagues in Dublin City University’s School of Nursing and Human Sciences made a call for in-school counselling services to be urgently provided at primary level.   Their survey of almost 1,300 principals found that staff were not qualified or trained to deal with a growing range of anxiety and other issues emerging in young pupils.

paul downes examiner aug 7th

RICHARD BRUTON PUBLISHES WELLBEING POLICY FOR SCHOOLS

Irish Examiner Friday July 20th 2018

Students should experience a sense of belonging, connection and safety in school.  That is according to a new wellbeing policy published today by the Minister for Education Richard Bruton.  The document sets out to help students facing challenges to their wellbeing while also supporting teachers and staff. It has been criticised by an expert in the field as being unrealistic. 

Dr Paul Downes from the DCU Institute of Education says the government is playing "catch up" with other European countries and the policy risks being merely "a sticking plaster." READ MORE

HOMELESS CHILDREN IN EDUCATION: 'SHE IS VERY TIRED IN SCHOOL, EXHAUSTED, I WOULD BE TOO IF I HAD TO TRAVEL'

The Journal.ie, Tuesday July 3rd 2018

A new report by the Children’s Rights Alliance looks at the impact of homelessness on children’s education.  READ MORE  

HOMELESS SCHOOLCHILDREN 'HUNGRY, TIRED AND ASHAMED' - STUDY

RTE.ie Tuesday July 3rd 2018

The report found that the difficulties were most acute for families living in private emergency accommodation such as hotels.  That is according to a study by the Children's Rights Alliance, which has found that all this is damaging their participation and engagement with education, writes Emma O’Kelly, Education Correspondent. READ MORE 

'LOST GENERATION' LOSING THEIR CHILDHOODS IN EMERGENCY ACCOMMODATION - REPORT

Irish Examiner, Tuesday July 3rd 2018

Anxious, angry, withdrawn, with some going back to wetting the bed - a new report has warned that Ireland could have a "lost generation" of children whose educational needs and overall well-being are being undermined by homelessness, writes Noel Baker, Senior Reporter and Social Affairs Correspondent. READ MORE

EU ADOPTS DCU TOOL ON TEACHER TRAINING

Irish Examiner 20th June 2018

A Dublin City University inspired self-evaluation tool for school heads, teachers, parents, other school partners, and policy makers has been officially translated by the European Commission into 22 languages. The Structural Indicators Tool was developed based on a 2017 report led by Dr Paul Downes, director of DCU’s Educational Disadvantage Centre. READ MORE

DCU-INSPIRED SCHOOL SELF-EVALUATION TOOL TRANSLATED BY EU COMMISSION INTO 22 LANGUAGES

IRELANDTECH NEWS June 28th 2018

A self-evaluation tool for school heads, teachers, parents, other school partners and policy makers – inspired by a DCU-led report – has been officially translated by the European Commission into 22 European languages writes Cal O’Donnabhain. READ MORE

PRIVILEGED PARENTS FINDING WAYS TO GIVE CHILDREN ‘UNFAIR’ EDUCATION ADVANTAGE

Irish Times Wednesday 30th May 2018

Oireachtas committee hears of need to better represent children in care in policy making.  Privileged parents will always find a way to give their children an advantage in education despite public policies aimed at promoting equality of opportunity, an Oireachtas committee has heard, writes Carl O’Brien. READ MORE

TRAVELLER AND ROMA STUDENTS GRADUATE

Irish Examiner, Thursday May 3rd 2018

 More bridges may be built between Travellers and the rest of society as more than 20 Traveller and Roma students have completed a university course in community work.   The initiative at Maynooth University has inspired some graduates to go on to tackle full degrees after completing more than 100 hours of study in youth justice, equality, and human rights, writes Niall Murray, Education Correspondent. READ MORE

HOMELESS STUDENTS 'SERIOUSLY STRUGGLING' IN CLASSROOMS AS TEACHERS CALL FOR ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

News Education Wednesday April 4th 2018

Homeless children are struggling in school, a primary teachers’ leader told Education Minister Richard Bruton today.  About  3,755 children are now homeless across Ireland and recent figures show 500 became homeless in February, the biggest increase since records began.  That translated in 35 pupils becoming homeless every two days during the month, Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) general secretary Sheila Nunan said, writes Katherine Donnelly. READ MORE

CHILD HOMELESSNESS IS AN EDUCATIONAL CRISIS TOO, TEACHERS TOLD: MORE THAN ONE CLASSROOM OF CHILDREN BECOMES HOMELESS EVERY DAY, SAYS INTO

Irish Times, Wednesday April 4th 2018

The Department of Education is failing to address child homelessness and the impact of the crisis is being felt in classrooms across Ireland, delegates at the Irish National Teachers Organisation conference have heard.  In a public address to Minister for Education Richard Bruton, INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said that teachers are increasingly concerned that the lack of a proper and stable home is harming children’s education. Approximately 3,755 children are homeless across Ireland.    “More than an entire primary school class, 35 pupils, became homeless every two days in February,” she said. “School children who are homeless are seriously struggling in school while their teachers struggle to help them to cope. Is it too much to ask for support for these children? What will it take? A classroom of children every day?” writes Peter McGuire. READ MORE

CHILDREN’S SPECIAL LEARNING NEEDS LINKED TO DISADVANTAGE

Irish Examiner Wednesday April 4th 2018

Children identified with behavioural, emotional, or social difficulties are significantly more likely to come from a socio-economically disadvantaged background than children without special learning needs, a new study has found, writes Seán McCártaigh. READ MORE

NO MENTION OF THE WORD ‘POVERTY’ IN €116BN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Irish Examiner Tuesday February 27th 2018

When tens of thousands of children are lost, there doesn’t seem to be any problem at all, writes Fergus Finlay. READ MORE

BARNARDOS: 1 IN 7 CHILDREN IN IRELAND ARE LOST

Barnardos.ie Wednesday 21st February 2018

‘CHILDREN LOST IN PLAIN SIGHT EVERY DAY’, SAYS BARNARDOS’ CHIEF

Irish Examiner, Wednesday February 21st 2018  

Barnardos children’s charity has launched its new Lost Childhood campaign that puts the spotlight on the one in seven children experiencing homelessness, poverty or neglect.   “We need to shine a light on the experiences of these children, highlighting this injustice at a national level and demand real solutions,” said Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay, writes Evelyn Ring. READ MORE

DEIS SCHEME ‘FAILING TO NARROW GAP’ BETWEEN DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN AND OTHER PUPILS: ACADEMIC CALLS FOR CHANGES TO SCHOOL SCHEME TO BOOST OUTCOMES FOR LESS WELL-OFF CHILDREN.

Irish Times Wednesday 7th February 2018

The Government’s support scheme for children in disadvantaged schools is failing to narrow the achievement gap with other schools, an Oireachtas committee has heard.  Dr Katriona O’Sullivan, a lecturer in Maynooth University’s school of education, said a recent review of the Deis (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) programme showed that literacy and maths improved in line with all national improvements across all schools, writes Carl O’Brien. READ MORE

LEVELLING THE FIELD FOR ENTRY TO COLLEGE

Irish Independent, Thursday 25th January, 2018

 A school in a community with a history of socio-economic disadvantage continues to buck the trend when it comes to third level, writes Katherine Donnelly.  It's CAO application time. Typically, about 60pc of 17 to 19-year-olds go to college, whether immediately after doing the Leaving Certificate or within a year or two of leaving school.  But various studies, as well as the so-called school 'league tables', clearly show the differences between communities when it comes to who progresses to third level. Against rates of around 80pc, 90pc and even higher for affluent areas, the average for teenagers from socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds is around 25pc, and can be much lower.  READ MORE

BREAKING THE MOULD FOR ENTRY TO TEACHING

Irish Independent January 18th 2018

Projects underway in third-level colleges are targeting students from a wider range of backgrounds for a career in education, writes Katherine Donnelly.  There are two concerns about the Irish teaching profession. One relates to shortages for certain subjects at second level, as well as a low supply of substitutes to cover for temporary absences at primary level.  The other is the lack of diversity, with teachers overwhelmingly white Irish, from more socially advantaged backgrounds and, in primary schools particularly, female. Entry to primary teaching tends to be the preserve of the top 25pc of Leaving Cert achievers when counted in CAO points. That may be an indicator of academic quality, but is a barrier to those with the aptitude and the ability, but who, for one reason or another, don't or can't compete for entry to teacher training on that basis.  READ MORE

ROMA PEOPLE 'GOING TO BED HUNGRY' AS REPORT FINDS MANY LIVING IN 'EXTREME POVERTY' IN IRELAND

Irish Independent, Thursday 18th January 2018

Roma people in Ireland are "going to bed hungry" and children are malnourished due to the extreme poverty they're being forced to live in, a new report has found.  The report also found that 45pc are living in overcrowded conditions and homes without running water, electricity and gas.  Some members of the Roma community also said they are living with rats, damp and sewerage problems writes Amy Molloy. READ MORE

AN COSÁN IS ‘BEACON’ OF EDUCATION AND CONFIDENCE FOR TALLAGHT LOCALS

Irish Times Monday January 15th 2018

Further education centre in Jobstown helps many for whom doors of learning had shut. An Cosán grew out of the shanty which was co-founded by Dr Katherine Zappone and Dr Ann Louise Gilligan in 1985. Since then it has transformed the lives of thousands of people, particularly women, once dependent on social welfare, writes Sarah Burns. READ MORE

ONE MILLION PEOPLE POOR OR DEPRIVED IN ‘RICH, DEVELOPED’ IRELAND

Irish Examiner Tuesday January 9th 2017

One million people in Ireland are either poor or deprived, despite a booming economy, according to Social Justice Ireland. Among them are 250,000 children and 100,000 “working poor”.

Calling on the Government to commit to building a fairer future for all, Social Justice Ireland director Sean Healy said that, while the economy is doing well, it is crucial that policymakers realise many on lower incomes are not benefitting as they should.  A quarter of a million children are among the 790,000 people in Ireland living in poverty, he said, writes Dan Buckley

TEACHING PROFESSION BOOST FOR DISADVANTAGED AREAS

Dublin People, Thursday 4th January 2018

HUNDREDS OF DISADVANTAGED SCHOOLS ‘EXCLUDED’ FROM DEIS SUPPORT SCHEME

Records indicate up to 257 additional schools identified as meeting threshold

Irish Times Wednesday 13th December 2017

Hundreds of deprived schools identified as qualifying for extra teachers and supports were not included in the State’s official scheme to tackle educational disadvantage.  More than 800 schools currently qualify for the Deis (Delivering Equality in Schools) scheme and benefit from vital additional resources such as extra teachers and grant-aid.

However, records released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that up to 257 additional schools were also identified earlier this year as qualifying for the scheme but were not included.  A document prepared for Minister for Education Richard Bruton ahead of October’s budget makes the case for additional funding over the next three years to include these schools in the Deis scheme.

The schools were identified using a new deprivation index which allows policy-makers to objectively identify the level of disadvantage among school pupils based on home addresses and census data. It replaced a survey completed by school principals which was widely regarded as vulnerable to “gaming”.

Out of date

Mr Bruton announced last February that a total of 79 schools were to be added into the Deis system for the first time using the new index. However, he declined to say at the time whether other schools had also been identified has having met the threshold for support.   When asked if the 257 schools referenced in the records qualified for Deis but were not included for budgetary reasons, a spokeswoman said this number was used “at a very early stage of the estimates process to illustrate what additional supports could be given to schools based on a particular financial allocation being made available. The information used to arrive at that number is now out of date and will not be used to inform policy decisions in this area”.   She said the new index had since been updated and a further exercise was being conducted using the updated data, writes Carl O’Brien

MORE THAN 250 SCHOOLS ‘EXCLUDED’ FROM DEIS SUPPORT SCHEME

Records indicate many disadvantaged schools not in receipt of extra resources

Irish Times, Wednesday 13th December 2017

More than 200 disadvantaged schools which were identified as needing extra support were not included in the Government’s scheme to support pupils from deprived backgrounds, new records show.   Almost 900 schools currently qualify for the Deis (Delivering Equality in Schools) scheme and benefit from additional resources such as extra teachers and grant-aid. However, documents released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that up to 257 additional schools were identified earlier this year as disadvantaged, but were not included. Hundreds of disadvantaged schools ‘excluded’ from Deis support scheme.   A document prepared for Minister for Education Richard Bruton ahead of October’s Budget makes the case for additional funding over the next three years to include these additional schools in the Deis scheme.

Deprivation index

The schools were identified using a new deprivation index which allows policy-makers to objectively identify the level of disadvantage among school pupils based on home addresses and census data.  It replaced a survey completed by school principals which was widely regarded as vulnerable to “gaming”.  Mr Bruton announced last February that 79 schools were to be added into the Deis system for the first time using the new index.  However, he declined to say at the time whether other schools had also been identified as having met the threshold for support, but had not been included.  The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation said there had been a “distinct lack of transparency in the system” behind the inclusion of additional schools in the Deis scheme, writes Carl O'Brien

DEIS CONTROVERSY: ‘TIPPERARY’S CHILDREN DESERVE A BETTER CHANCE’

Despite high levels of deprivation, the town has failed to benefit from the revamped scheme

Irish Times Wednesday 13th December 2017

Louise Tobin, principal at St Joseph’s Primary School in Tipperary town, sees how many children are playing catch-up from day one.  “Many simply don’t have the vocabulary or the bank of nursery rhymes that other children would have. They might not have had a breakfast, or won’t have a proper lunch.”

This is where the Deis (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) scheme can play a crucial role.  It gives extra resources, such as additional teachers and home-school liaison officers, to more than 800 disadvantaged schools. It also provides funding for literacy and numeracy programmes, along with meals for pupils.  

When Minister for Education Richard Bruton announced plans to expand the Deis scheme earlier this year, St Joseph’s hoped it would now qualify for it.   Indicators such as unemployment, education levels and family structure suggest Tipperary town is one of the more deprived urban areas in the country.  When the school didn’t make the new list, announced last February, Tobin was dumbfounded. Indeed, no school in Tipperary town qualified.

“It seemed open and shut . . . I was flabbergasted,” she says.

Until recently, Deis schools were identified using surveys filled in by the schools themselves, which made the system vulnerable to “gaming” by principals.

However, a new affluence and deprivation index now uses census data and pupils’ addresses to identify schools with the highest proportions of children from deprived backgrounds. It takes into account a variety of factors, such as social class, educational levels of parents, lone parenthood, parental occupation and unemployment.   Under this new system, a total of 79 schools were added to the Deis scheme for the first time, while a further 30 had their status uplifted from band two to one – which involves greater levels of support.

Records released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that many more schools – up to 257 – were also identified as meeting the criteria for Deis support. However, this information was not made public at the time. The irony is that a selling point of the new Deis system was that it would be fair and transparent.  This latest development raises the question of whether these schools were kept in the dark over meeting the thresholds for Deis support.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education said schools were added to the scheme earlier this year based on 2011 census data and the index is being updated with details from the 2016 census.    “If this exercise reveals that any school which did not qualify for Deis in the February 2017 round actually meets the criteria applicable to schools with the highest concentration of disadvantage based on the fully up-to-date information then it will be included, subject to resources,” the spokeswoman said.

“The figure of 257 schools was used at a very early stage of the estimates process to illustrate what additional supports could be given to schools based on a particular financial allocation being made available. The information used to arrive at that number is now out of date and will not be used to inform policy decisions in this area.”

Threshold

Many schools may passionately believe they qualify for support, but have no way of knowing for sure if they meet the threshold.    In the case of St Joseph’s, however, a delegation was told by department officials that they were “in the space” of meeting Deis criteria, but were not being admitted at this time. 

The department has previously defended its decision not to publish the outcomes for individual schools under the affluence and deprivation index as it would allow “crude comparisons” to be drawn in terms of relative levels of disadvantage in schools.   It has argued that this would be highly divisive, unfair to parents, students and communities, and place schools in an invidious position.

None of this is much comfort to Tobin or her school.  “We run the school on a shoestring. We don’t ask for voluntary contributions because we don’t want to put parents under even greater pressure. We need extra support,” she says.   “We’re talking about the lives of all of the little children in Tipperary town, coming from disadvantaged homes. This is a chance to help bridge the gap between them and other children. They deserve a better chance”, writes Carl O’Brien

REVEALED: HOW MANY CHILDREN MISS SCHOOL THROUGH ABSENCE EVERY DAY IN IRELAND

News Irish News Friday December 1st 2017

A new report from Tusla estimates that 59,900 students in Ireland are absent from school each day. The figure comes from a report called 'School Attendance Data from Primary and Post-Primary School 2015/16' conducted by David Millar of the Educational Research Centre on behalf of Tusla. The report says that approximately 32,600 primary and 27,300 post-primary students do not attend school each day. READ MORE 

‘WORKING-CLASS CHILDREN GET LESS OF EVERYTHING IN EDUCATION - INCLUDING RESPECT’

The Guardian, Wednesday November 22nd 2017 

Diane Reay grew up on a council estate, the eldest of eight, and became a Cambridge professor. Now she wants to talk about inequality in education. READ MORE

 STUDY: CHILDREN IN DEPRIVED AREAS ARE MORE RESILIENT

Irish Examiner, Tuesday November 14th 2017

A survey of hundreds of primary school children from traditionally disadvantaged areas has shown the vast majority are very resilient and in many cases are performing better than the national norm.  The research was conducted by youth support organisation Archways and examined the well-being of children aged seven, 10 and 12 years living in the Dublin suburb of Clondalkin, and in Drogheda and Dundalk in Co Louth.  The full report surveyed more than 850 children. As part of it, Archways measured the resilience of children in 4th and 6th classes writes Noel Baker. READ MORE

 MINDFULNESS CLASSES TO BE OFFERED IN DEIS SCHOOLS

Irish Examiner, Monday 9th October 2017

Mindfulness classes are to be offered to some of the country's poorest pupils. Teachers in DEIS schools are to be trained to help children with their emotional wellbeing. It is hoped the course could discourage disruptive behaviour and lower anxiety levels.   But parenting expert David Carey says it isn't enough.  "It's all well and good to build mindfulness into the curriculum, but if you don't make other changes, you still have a curriculum that in many cases, particularly for young children, is not developmentally appropriate," he said. READ MORE

TEACHERS TO BE TRAINED TO HELP REDUCE PUPILS’ ANXIETY

Irish Times Monday 9th September 2017

New programme to be rolled out in more than 900 disadvantaged schools.   Thousands of teachers in disadvantaged schools are to be offered training aimed at reducing pupils’ anxiety and boosting their resilience, writes Carl O’Brien. READ MORE

 FAILINGS FORCE OUR PUPILS FROM SCHOOL: EU REPORT

Irish Daily Mail, September 21st 2017

Irish children are pulling out of school early because they don’t get the support they should , according to the author of a new E U-backed report on education needs, writes Sarah Slater. READ MORE

SCHOOLS ‘MUST PLAY A BIGGER ROLE IN TACKLING HUNGER, INADEQUATE SLEEP’

Irish Examiner, September 21st 2017

Issues such as tackling inadequate sleep and hunger need to play a bigger role in how Irish schools combat disadvantage, according to the author of a European Commission report, writes Niall Murray. READ MORE

MOTHER SAYS COMMUNITY INITIATIVE HELPS DAUGHTER OVERCOME SPEECH DIFFICULTIES

Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative celebrates 10 year anniversary

Irish Times, Tuesday 12th September  2017, Sarah Burns

A mother has said her daughter who was waiting a year for a speech and language assessment by the HSE, secured one within three months through a community based initiative in Tallaght.

The Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative (CDI), which works with local organisations to commission services for children, families and the community, celebrated its 10th anniversary on Tuesday. Laura Maguire from Tallaght, enrolled her daughter Ava, who is now aged eight, in Fledglings preschool in Kiltipper in September 2012.  The preschool provides services such as speech and language therapy with the help of the CDI.

Ms Maguire said when her daughter was three-years-old she had a delay in her speech and the preschool was told this. “Quite soon after, they came to me and said they had the service and would it be something that I would be interested in and obviously I was delighted that it was available there,” she told The Irish Times.

“At the time, the waiting list in the HSE (Health Service Executive) just even for an initial assessment was very long. She had already been a year on a waiting list for an assessment.  We started her in the play school in September and by December she had an assessment in Fledglings through their services. From then on we had speech therapy every week for the first year she was there. She mightn’t have even had her initial assessment if we just stayed with the HSE waiting list.”

Ms Maguire said she and other parents met the occupational therapist and were given specific tips to use at home as well as individual programmes.  “She continued with it in the second year of preschool but it wasn’t as intense as the first year. She was discharged at the end of her two years and it hasn’t continued on to primary school, it hasn’t been a problem since. You wouldn’t know it was ever an issue now at this stage,” Ms Maguire added.

The CDI said it had benefited 12,000 adults and children since it was established in 2007.

It has received €22 million in funding, half of which came from the Government through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and the remainder through philanthropies.

The CDI said it is resourced up to the middle of 2018 and called for “a longer term view and commitment from the Government”.   Chief executive Marian Quinn said “the idea is to engage with children and families as young as we can and also to pre-empt any issues or difficulties they may have and intervene as early as we can.

“Tallaght West is designated as disadvantaged. There are multiple statistics that demonstrate that children in Tallaght West underachieve, particularly educationally. Obviously that’s a massive part of why we’re here,” she said.

Since 2007, the CDI has helped provide speech and language therapy to 820 children and literacy and numeracy support to 1,440 children. Restorative practices training has been provided to 2,000 adults and 190 people.  “The speech and language therapy in early year services and in primary schools has proven to be really effective,” Ms Quinn said.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said the CDI “has been and remains a model of best practice”. 

THE PROGRAMME HELPING TO EASE THE PRIMARY TO SECONDARY SCHOOL TRANSITION

Second level is a big change in a student’s life and preventing regression is key to success

Irish Times, Tuesday 12th September 2017

Writers, Áine McMahon and Carl O'Brien

 This September around 70,000 children are embarking on one of life’s significant changes: the start of secondary school.   After eight years of being surrounded by classmates they have known since junior infants, they are catapulted into an unfamiliar world of lockers, complicated timetables, new demands from teachers, new social circles and - as if that wasn’t enough - puberty,

The effect of transition from primary to post-primary school has alarmed educators with evidence that many children end up regressing in their first year.  Research by UK academic Maurice Galton reported that up to 40 per cent of pupils experienced a “hiatus” in academic progress during the first couple of months at second level.

A study by the ESRI also found that at least 20 per cent of students take a long period to settle in, particularly pupils with less self-confidence and poor self-image or those from Traveller or non-Irish backgrounds.   Issues such as bullying, separation from friends, long commutes and different teaching styles are all issues which have emerged as challenges in bridging the primary/secondary divide.  These issues can have long-term effects on student well-being and academic performance, according to research.

This year, a series of new initiatives are underway in schools and youth clubs to help young people make this transition a success, especially in disadvantaged areas.

PARENTS TEACHING PARENTS

In Limerick, home school liaison teachers are working with parents to help their children make the journey as smooth as possible.

Parents learn about the transfer process, filling out the post-primary application forms, understanding the education system in Ireland, how schools operate and run, how to get the best from the education system, the exam process, the points system and the CAO.

Austin Newman, a home-school liaison teacher at St John’s Girls and Infant Boys School, Limerick city, is part of a team which has trained more than 20 parents to deliver this programme.

“Some parents might not have finished secondary school or they might have a bad taste in their mouth about education. School may not have been for them but they still want the best for their children so we want to help bridge the gap,” he says.

Training parents is key, as parents are more likely to listen to each other, he says.

“It’s so much more powerful because there’s an element of trust, and relationships build between the parents delivering it. They trust them, they know them – they are neighbours, colleagues and friends.”

The transfer programme is helping parents feel more confident and empowered about their child’s transfer from primary to post-primary, Newman says.   A big issue for parents in Limerick, for example, is securing a place for their child in secondary school, with waiting lists the norm.

“We’re trying to help alleviate any fears parents might have about school choice as they may put a certain school on top of their list but a choice further down could be a better fit for their child,” he says.

IRISH YOUTH FOUNDATION

The Irish Youth Foundation is also funding new programmes that are supporting young people in moving to second-level.

Niall McLoughin, the foundation’s chief executive, says the Next Step programme is based on a toolkit which is being made available for free online to groups working with young people in youth work settings.  The programme, which runs from sixth-class right to the end of first year, encourages young people to build self-confidence, as well to express any fears or concerns they may have.

At the Solas Project in Dublin’s south-west inner city, the youth group says it has been using the programme to help dozens of young people.

In working with some young people in prison, project workers found a striking pattern of them who linked many of their difficulties to adjusting to second-level.   “It’s a complete upset to what they are used to: new faces, longer commutes, extra homework. And combine that with whatever they may be going through at home or elsewhere,” says Derek Murphy, project co-ordinator with the Solas Project.

Now, the organisation works with local schools and teachers and provides a series of after-school activities all the way up to the end of first-year, using the Next Step toolkit.

“We do supported homework and there’s the option to talk through things with mentors and volunteers, whether it’s bullying, confidence issues, whatever. The idea is to make sure no one feels alone and to create a supportive environment.”

Alex (13) is one of the young people who has taken part. She says she had a tough time in primary school, but has adjusted well to second-level.

“It’s been great to talk about things going through my head. When you talk, it makes you feel better,” she says.  “I’m going into second year and I feel much better than last year. I did get a bit bullied, but I was able to cope with it. I used to be very quiet... now, I’m really loud!”

Dylan, who is also starting second year, says it has helped boost his self-belief.

He has flourished in his first year: he was moved up to a higher class mid-way through the year; and then he got a place on the school chess team. He even won a tournament along the way.

“It’s been good. I enjoy school... It’s all been great,” he says.

JANICE HUGHES: ‘I DIDN’T REALISE THE OPTIONS THAT WERE THERE OR ABOUT SCHOOL CHOICE’

When her son was due to start secondary school, Janice Hughes says she didn’t know much about what was involved.  Due to the demand for school places in Limerick, for example, parents are required to fill out a CAO-type form listing secondary school preferences for their child.

“I went to just one open night at a secondary school. They handed me the form and I filled it in; I didn’t realise the options that were there or about school choice,” she says.

After taking part in the home-school liaison programme, all that has changed. Now, she helps other parents to prepare for the journey into second-level.   “It’s an amazing course and I’d recommend it to anyone. It prepares you in ways beyond your child going to primary school,” she says.

“It lets you see what options there are for your child and what supports are there for parents. Some parents themselves may not have had the best experience at school or didn’t complete all their education so it’s a great resource to be able to come along and ask questions and get advice that you need.”

Parents learn about open nights, school waiting lists, transport to schools, services for children with special needs, school lockers and all the things they need to know about bridging the gap between primary and secondary school, she says.   Open nights held at secondary schools can be intimidating and overwhelming for some parents. Hughes says the programme helps allay those concerns.

“When you go to an open night, there are so many parents there. You go there with your child and may not be sure what to ask or to check if the school has special needs facilities for instance.

“We help research schools and parents come back to us at the workshops and are better informed about where to send their child to school.”

In numbers:

Primary to secondary school 25%: Proportion of second years who “like school very much”, according to the Growing Up in Ireland study. 36%: Proportion of first years who “love school very much”

40%: Proportion of children whose academic progress can stall when they move to second level, based on UK research

20%: Proportion of students who take a month or more to settle into second level, based on ESRI research.

 ‘A TRAVELLER GOING TO UNIVERSITY SHOULDN’T BE NEWS’

Irish Times Wednesday September 9th 2017

Kathleen Lawrence, who has graduated from Maynooth, was told she was ‘stupid’ at school, writes Kitty Holland.  Maynooth university graduate Kathleen Lawrence: ‘When I first came into the school the teacher gave me a colouring book and said I didn’t need to learn Irish’.  When Kathleen Lawrence (31) was told as a child by her teacher that she was “stupid” she resolved that no one would ever call her that again.  The young Traveller woman, who graduates today from Maynooth university with a 2:1 degree in civil law, tells how she was given the Bronte classic Jane Eyre to read at her primary school in Finglas, Dublin.  “I remember trying to read this book with the ‘thous’ and the ‘thees’. I said to the teacher, ‘This is stupid’ and she said ‘You’re stupid if you can’t understand it’. So I went and got myself a dictionary and I read it for spite. Ironically, it’s now my favourite book.” READ MORE

PUPILS PROTEST OVER EXCLUSION FROM SUPPORT SCHEME FOR DISADVANTAGED SCHOOLS

Teachers say vulnerable students from deprived areas are losing out on vital supports

Irish Times, Wednesday 26th April 2017

Tipperary school children

Children from five schools in Tipperary gather at the Department of Education to hand a letter in to Minister for Education Richard Bruton. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Almost 150 pupils from five Tipperary schools gathered outside the Department of Education headquarters on Wednesday in protest over their exclusion from a support scheme for disadvantaged schools, writes Carl O’Brien

CALL FOR SUPPORTS FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN

Irish Examiner, Wednesday 5th April 2017             

Traveller children and children who have English as their second language are less likely to be “school ready”, according to new research which also argues that more supports are needed to help better prepare children for the start of primary education.   The research, conducted by Dr Maire Hanniffy and presented to the School of School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, also found some concern over class sizes as well as widespread support for the free preschool year and its extension to two years, writes Noel Baker. READ MORE 

 AWARDS FOR FIVE SCHOOLS PROMOTING DIVERSITY

Irish Times Wednesday March 29th 2017

Yellow flag status for schools involved in tackling racism.  Five schools have been honoured for their efforts in promoting diversity and tackling racism.  The four primary schools and one secondary school were awarded yellow flag status for “addressing racism, fostering diversity and meeting equality standards within their schools and community environment”. READ MORE

 50,000 PUPILS TO GET FREE MEALS AS PLAN EXPANDS

Irish Examiner, Tuesday 28th March 2017

Nearly 50,000 extra children will receive free meals at school from September under an expansion of Government funding for the scheme.    The additional €3m is on top of an extra €2.5m which was announced in last October’s budget to increase funding to schools already in the School Meals Programme writes Niall Murray and Elaine Loughlin. READ MORE

SCHOOLS NEED TO BE 'AS DIVERSE AS THE PUPILS THEY TEACH'

Irish Independent, Friday 24th March 2017

Human Rights Commissioner Emily Logan says more needs to be done to ensure that the teachers in Ireland reflect the growing diversity of pupils in their classrooms.  She said it was crucial to have a cohort of teachers, educators and school managers who reflected the changing make-up of Irish society, and much work is needed to be done to achieve that writes Katherine Donnelly. READ MORE 

HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING PROBLEMS REACH CRISIS POINT IN ALL EU COUNTRIES – EXCEPT FINLAND

The Guardian, Tuesday March 21st 2017

Report on ‘alarming evidence’ of rising homelessness singles out UK for criticism while warning that one in 70 Athens residents are homeless, and most have become so since 2011. A European housing body has warned that homelessness and exclusion from housing has reached crisis point in the majority of countries in the EU. European Union writes Dawn Foster. READ MORE 

WHY ARE SO MANY TEACHERS WHITE, IRISH, MIDDLE-CLASS WOMEN?

Irish Times, Monday March 20th 2017

Diversity remains a challenge with few men or people from disadvantaged backgrounds entering the profession.  Diversity in teaching remains a challenge, with trainees most likely to be white, Irish, socially advantaged women. Look around any staffroom round the country and you are likely to see predominantly white middle class women.   Despite difficulties in accessing teaching jobs, the number of CAO applicants who have listed teaching courses as their first preference has remained relatively stable in recent years, writes Áine McMahon. READ MORE

SAMARITANS: INEQUALITY IS DRIVING PEOPLE TO SUICIDE

Irish Examiner, Monday March 3rd 2017

Phone helpline charity the Samaritans has warned that inequality is driving people to suicide.   It has called on the Government, businesses, industry, and sector leaders to be aware of the risks of suicide and to direct supportive resources to those with unstable employment, insecure housing or low income or who live in areas of socio-economic deprivation.  Suicide rates are twice as high in deprived areas, the charity warns. READ MORE

Statement by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD On the recognition of Travellers as an ethnic group

MerrionStreet.ie   Wednesday March 1st 2017 

HISTORIC CHANGE CAN FREE TRAVELLER CHILDREN FROM CENTURIES OF DISCRIMINATION

Children’s Rights Alliance, Wednesday March 1st 2017

The Children’s Rights Alliance warmly welcomes the news that An Taoiseach will announce the official recognition of Traveller ethnicity. READ MORE

TRAVELLERS FORMALLY RECOGNISED AS AN ETHNIC MINORITY

Irish Times Wednesday 1st March 2017

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says ‘it is a proud day for Ireland’ as community gains new status.  Taoiseach Enda Kenny has announced formal recognition for Travellers as a distinct ethnic group within the State.  In a statement to the Dáil on Wednesday night, Mr Kenny said: “It is a historic day for our Travellers and a proud day for Ireland” writes Marie O’Halloran and Michael O’Regan. READ MORE 

Q&A: WHAT DOES ETHNIC RECOGNITION MEAN FOR IRISH TRAVELLERS?

Irish Times, Wednesday March 1st 2017

Campaigners believe move will give community confidence to address challenges it faces.  On Wednesday evening Taoiseach Enda Kenny will make a statement recognising the Irish Travelling community as an ethnic minority for the first time.  The status has long been sought by members of the community but what exactly does this step by the Government mean for Irish travellers? Writes Sorcha Pollak and Kitty Holland. READ MORE

MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS IN SCHOOLS 'THREE TIMES WORSE THAN FEARED'

Irish Independent, Tuesday 28th February 2017 2:30

Late last year it was indicated to the Dáil that 34,575 children were affected – but it has now emerged that the actual figure is 95,543 pupils in 397 schools.  The number of children without direct access to an educational psychologist service is almost three times what was previously believed, the Irish Independent can reveal writes Kevin Doyle. READ MORE

 REPORT SHOWS IT’S TIME FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO BUCK UP FOR CHILDREN

Irish Examiner, Wednesday February 22nd 2017

Childrens Rights Alliance launch report card 2017

Maeve Lewis, One in Four, Judge Catherine McGuinness, Mike Allen, Focus Ireland, Tanya Ward, Children's Rights Alliance and Grainia Long, ISPCC. 

The latest report card on the Government’s performance regarding children shows it to be a struggling student.  We all remember it. The dreaded letter in the door, shortly after Christmas, or just in time to rain over your summer holidays. The exam results; the report card.   The latest Children’s Rights Alliance report card on the Government’s performance on delivering on its commitments for children shows a struggling student. There’s potential there, but many will ask — with some justification — ‘where’s the application?’   After one dodgy set of exams too many, my parents employed the nuclear threat: Much more of this, and you’re going boarding. Ministers and TDs may not have that hanging over them, but make no mistake, their grades are in the doldrums writes Noel Baker. READ MORE

COALITION IS ‘FAILING VULNERABLE CHILDREN’ - RIGHTS GROUPS GIVE GOVERNMENT'S EFFORTS D+

Irish Examiner, Wednesday, February 22nd 2017

Children whose parents drink to excess, along with children who are homeless and others who are victims of crime are not being looked after by this Government, say children’s rights groups.  Little improvement is being made either in the lives of children living in poverty or those stuck in the asylum and refugee systems.  Furthermore, just one 24-hour state service for victims of sexual assault under the age of 14 exists in the country. The service in Galway had to shut temporarily, twice in the last two years, due to lack of funding.  In its annual ‘Report Card’, the Children’s Rights Alliance examined how well the present Government is implementing promises made around children in the Programme for Government.  It found the Government’s record is poorer than previous administrations with a panel of experts awarding the Government a D+ writes Claire O’Sullivan. READ MORE 

IMPACT OF HOMELESSNESS ON KIDS 'CATASTROPHIC'

Irish Independent, Wednesday 22nd February 2017

There were a total of 7,167 homeless adults and children in emergency accommodation across Ireland in January.   The development of children is being hampered by growing up in emergency accommodation, it has been claimed.   The Children's Rights Alliance published its annual report card yesterday, giving the government a D+ grade in their performance on children's rights - the lowest in six years writes Ian Begley.  READ MORE

 DCU’S EFFORTS SHOW SIGNS OF HOPE FOR REFUGEE CRISIS

Irish Times, Monday February 20th 2017

The College View

Photo Zainab Boladale/The College View

The world is grappling with the largest refugee crisis since the end of the bloodshed that was the Second World War in 1945. Politicians across the globe are struggling to comprehend and reckon with the scale of the challenges that this crisis presents and the responses differ substantially from border to border writes Andrew Ralph. READ MORE

 FUNDING DOUBLED TO €10M TO START REGENERATION OF NORTH INNER CITY

Irish Independent, Thursday February 17th 2017

Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited the crime-hit north inner city in Dublin to confirm a doubling of funds to €10m to begin regenerating the area. He confirmed the Government was backing the recommendations in a report compiled by Kieran Mulvey to boost the area economically and socially, and strengthen the Garda fight against drug lords and gang violence.

The old Rutland Street school building will be renovated and developed as a community hub, despite a huge increase in the estimated cost of refurbishing it, he said. Fitzgibbon Street Gárda station would be reopened and 30 extra guards would take up duty in the area by the end of this year, the Taoiseach said.

Some €5m in new funds will be ring-fenced for regeneration in addition to almost €5m originally pledged to the project.  The Taoiseach said: "Until the people of this community feel safe and confident walking their own streets, feel able to let their children play outside, we will not have achieved what we need to for this community", writes Alan O’Keeffe

 55% SURGE IN CHILDREN REGISTERED AS HOMELESS

Irish Examiner, Thursday February 16th 2017

Rates of child homelessness increased by 55% last year, despite government efforts to tackle the housing crisis, it has emerged, writes Evelyn Ring of the Irish Examiner. The children’s charity Barnardos said children were the invisible victims of the housing crisis. Last December, there were 2,505 children registered as homeless across Ireland, compared to 1,616 during the same month in 2015, a 55% increase.  Over the same 12 month period, adult homelessness across the country rose by 28%, so child homelessness is growing at double this rate, writes Evelyn Ring. READ MORE

FOCUS IRELAND: HOMELESS CRISIS NOT JUST AFFECTING PEOPLE IN THE MARGINS

Irish Examiner, Thursday February 16th 2017

One in every nine people is worried that they will lose their home, according to a new survey from Focus Ireland.  The report reveals there is a growing national crisis, with the charity's Director of Advocacy, Mike Allen, saying it should be a wake up call for the Government. Mr Allen said: "These are much higher figures than we've seen before. "They show the way in which the housing and homeless crisis isn't just affecting people in the margins but it's affecting people right across our society." READ MORE

 'LONG WAY TO GO' TO END CHILD POVERTY

Irish Independent, Monday 13th February 2017

Figures were released that showed 2,505 children were homeless last Christmas in Ireland. The leader of an EU initiative targeting social issues has said Ireland "has a long way to go" in helping poverty-stricken children. Prof Hugh Frazer said there needed to be a focus on improving public services, as more than a third of Irish children were in poverty or threatened by it.  The professor is the Coordinator of the EU Network of Experts on Social Inclusion. The aim of the group is to highlight poverty and social exclusion in more than 30 countries in Europe writes Chai Brady. READ MORE

SCHOOLS MAY LOSE DEIS FUNDS IN REFORMS

Irish Examiner, Monday 13th February  2017

Allocation of Government funds could see DEIS funding dropped. Some schools may lose extra staff or funding they have had for the past decade under Government reforms of how supports for disadvantage are allocated.  While around 80 schools will be added to the School Support Programme (SSP) under the new DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) plan, some of the 826 schools included could be dropped writes Niall Murray. READ MORE

MORE SCHOOLS TO GET DISADVANTAGE SUPPORTS

Irish Examiner, Monday 13th February  2017      

More schools will be resourced in Education Minister Richard Bruton’s plan to tackle educational disadvantage, but supports should be much better focused than in the past.  His department’s new DEIS plan means the way the €112m a year is used will be better monitored.  The funding will be provided to more than 900 of the country’s 4,000 schools, up from the 641 primary and 185 second-level schools currently in the School Support Programme (SSP), writes Niall Murray. READ MORE

SCHOOLS COULD LOSE OUT IN PLAN TO FIGHT DISADVANTAGE

Irish Times, Monday 13th February 2017

New approach aims to identify more accurately the most deprived schools in Republic.  Some schools in disadvantaged areas which benefit from extra supports could end up losing out under a new approach aimed at more accurately identifying the most deprived schools in the State.  At present, about 800 schools in disadvantaged areas benefit from reduced class sizes and extra grant aid.  Minister for Education Richard Bruton will announce plans today to expand the number of schools in the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) scheme by 80, writes Carl O’Brien. READ MORE

 TRAVELLER GROUPS WELCOME FINDINGS OF DNA STUDY

Irish Times Thursday 9th February 2017

Pavee Point director says dispelling the ‘Famine myth’ was most important outcome.  Study was carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons and the University of Edinburgh. Traveller Advocacy groups have welcomed the findings of a DNA study as confirmation of their unique culture and a refutation of the assumption their ethnicity is dated to the Famine.  Martin Collins, co-director of Pavee Point, said there was no great surprise in the findings of the joint Royal College of Surgeons and University of Edinburgh study because Travellers had always identified themselves as being indigenous to Ireland writes Mark Hilliard. READ MORE

 TRAVELLERS AS ‘GENETICALLY DIFFERENT’ FROM SETTLED IRISH AS SPANISH

Irish Times, Thursday 9th February 2017

Study finds Travellers emerged as distinct group up to 200 years before Great Famine.  The emergence of Irish Travellers as a distinct group occurred long before the Great Famine, a genetic analysis shows. The DNA study also indicates that while Travellers originally descended from the general Irish population, they are now very distinct from it, writes Dick Ahlstrom

SCHOOL USE AFTER HOURS IS ONE OF 400 ACTIONS IN NEW PLAN

Irish Independent Tuesday February 7th 2017

Guidelines for the use of school buildings out of hours, for after school care, will be published within months, Education Minister Richard Bruton has promised.  Mr Bruton is engaging with school property owners and authorities, mainly the Catholic Church, about making the facilities available after the school day finishes, writes Katherine Donnelly and Kevin Doyle. READ MORE

 MAKE PARENTS LIABLE FOR CYBERBULLYING, SAYS EXPERT

Irish Examiner, Monday February 6th 2017           

Parents should be held liable for their children’s behaviour online, the director of an anti-bullying research centre has said. Parents are not educating their children about safe usage of the internet.  Ahead of Safer Internet Day tomorrow, the Director of the National Anti-Bullying Research Resource Centre at Dublin City University, Dr James O’Higgins-Norman,  said if parents were held legally responsible for their child’s cyberbullying, there would be greater numbers of parents familiarising themselves with the social media their children are using, writes Claire O’Sullivan. READ MORE

ACTION URGED TO TACKLE 'DEPRESSING' RATES OF CHILD POVERTY

Irish Examiner, Thursday 2nd February 2017

Campaign groups have claimed not enough is being done to tackle inequality and child poverty.  The warnings follow findings from a CSO survey on income and living conditions.  The findings demonstrate a “consistent poverty rate” of 8.7%, which includes people who are defined as being both at risk of poverty and also experiencing enforced deprivation.  The figures relate to 2015 and show a slight drop from the 2014 figure of 8.8% writes Joe Leogue. READ MORE

 EDUCATION KEY TO IMPROVING EMPLOYMENT AND LIVING CIRCUMSTANCES OF TRAVELLERS

ESRI Irish Society News, Tuesday January 17th 2017I

A new report published by the ESRI today (17 January 2017) finds that education is key to improving the employment and living circumstances of Travellers. The authors of A Social Portrait of Travellers in Ireland draw on the full 2011 Census of Population to explore whether certain groups of Travellers (in terms of gender, age and region) experience particularly high levels of disadvantage in four areas: education, employment, housing and health. According to Census 2011, the Traveller population consists of just under 30,000 individuals or 0.6 per cent of the population in Ireland. READ MORE and ACCESS THE REPORT HERE

TRAVELLERS SUFFER ‘EXTREME DISADVANTAGE’, REPORT SHOWS

Irish Times Tuesday 17th January 2017

ESRI highlights the ‘urgency’ of the community’s situation in a landmark study.  ‘Some 12 per cent of Travellers live in caravans or mobile homes and 56 per cent ‘live in overcrowded accommodation’, the ESRI has found.’  Almost 70 per cent of Travellers live in caravans or overcrowded housing, just 1 per cent has a college degree, 82 per cent are unemployed and their health worsens more dramatically than non-Travellers as they age.  These are among the findings in a landmark study of the Traveller community, published this morning by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) writes Kitty Holland. READ MORE

 REPORT SHOWS TRAVELLER HURDLES

Irish Examiner, Tuesday January 17th 2017

Travellers are still more likely to leave school early and the rate of progress when it comes to completing the Leaving Certificate is still way behind that of society in general, according to a report to be launched today.  A Social Portrait of Travellers in Ireland was written by senior researchers at the economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and compares data taken from censuses in 2006 and 2011, and indicates that even among younger Travellers there is a much smaller percentage of people who have completed second- level education, writes Noel Baker. READ MORE

 130,000 CHILDREN IN POVERTY A ‘SILENT CRISIS’

Irish Examiner, Wednesday  4th January 2017

 If the 130,000 children who live in dire poverty were as visible as patients on hospital trollies, Ireland might wake up to this ‘silent crisis’, says the CEO of Barnardos.  Fergus Finlay says there are enough children living in consistent poverty to fill Croke Park twice over.  In 2014, the Government set a target in its ‘Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures’ to cut child poverty in half by 2020. This would reduce the figures to 70,000. However, the numbers of children living in consistent poverty are expected to reach 130,000 by the end of this month.  Last year, Barnardos supported more than 12,304 children and families in the first nine months of 2016 compared with 11,718 the first nine months in 2015 writes Claire O’Sullivan. READ MORE

TIME TO TURN ASPIRATION INTO ACTION FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN 2017

Barnardos, Tuesday January 3rd 2017

Demand for Barnardos’ services increased again in 2016, the organisation revealed today. According to preliminary figures, the children’s charity supported more than 12,304 children and families in the first nine months of 2016 compared with 11,718 the first nine months in 2015. READ MORE

SUICIDE RATE AMONG TRAVELLER MEN IS SEVEN TIMES HIGHER

Irish Times, Thursday 24th November 2016

Travellers’ life expectancy is 15 years lower than men in general population, paper finds.  Every Traveller family in the State has lost someone to suicide, co-director of the Traveller support organisation Pavee Point has said.  Martin Collins, speaking at the publication of a paper on Traveller Men’s Health, said the suicide rate among Traveller men was seven times the rate among men in the general population. Life expectancy among Traveller men is 62 –15 years shorter than men in the general population writes Kitty Holland. READ MORE

WHY CHILDREN SHOULD PAINT, SING AND PLAY AT SCHOOL

Irish Times, Tuesday November 15th 2016

New research has highlighted the importance of the arts to Irish schoolchildren. “The arts are essential to a child’s development. They are as important as the air we breathe,” says Gráinne Powell, the chief executive of Sticky Fingers, a children’s arts organisation, who has spent more than 15 years specialising in the development and promotion of the arts for children both North and South, writes Nora-Ide McAuliffe. READ MORE

MORE CHILDREN HOMELESS THAN EVER BEFORE, FOCUS IRELAND CHARITY REPORTS

Irish Independent November 13th 2016

Focus Ireland said 1,200 families do not have a roof over their head.  The number of homeless children has hit record levels, according to one of Ireland's biggest charities.  Some 2,400 children and 1,200 families are without a roof over their head, Focus Ireland said as it made an urgent plea for help. READ MORE

CHILDHOOD OBESITY LINKED TO IRREGULAR SLEEP AND SKIPPING BREAKFAST

Irish Times Friday November 11th 2016

Study challenges view that soaring obesity rates among caused solely by eating too much.  The researchers also concluded that a child’s consumption of sugary drinks or the amount of television they watch are not strong predictors of who will gain an unhealthy amount of weight.   Skipping breakfast and irregular sleep patterns have been identified as key reasons why children may become dangerously overweight in research that sheds new light on the obesity epidemic.  The study, led by academics from University College London, challenges the widely-held view that soaring childhood obesity rates are caused solely by overeating. READ MORE

CHILDREN FROM POORER AREAS ‘SIGNIFICANTLY’ MORE LIKELY TO BE OBESE

Irish Times Wednesday 9th November 2016

HSE-commissioned report finds DEIS students spend more time watching television. Children in DEIS schools less likely to eat fresh fruit daily compared to those in others schools. Children from disadvantaged communities are eating less fruit and vegetables and watching twice as much television as their peers, a new report shows. The report, Descriptives of Childhood Obesity Factors, was commissioned by the HSE and carried out by the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre at UCD. It found “significant differences” in risk factors depending on socio economic circumstances, writes Colin Gleeson. READ MORE

STATE URGED TO INVEST MORE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION

Irish Examiner, Tuesday November 8th 2016

The State has been urged to invest more in early childhood intervention schemes in disadvantaged areas — a move which would save the country money in the long-term. The call came yesterday at a national conference in Cork organised by Young Knocknaheeny (YK) — a pioneering childhood programme on the northside of Cork City funded by the Government and Atlantic Philanthropies writes Eoin English. READ MORE

 HOMELESSNESS REACHES RECORD FIGURES AS 6,709 IRISH WITHOUT A HOME

Western People Wednesday November 2nd 2016

The number of homeless families in Dublin has surpassed 1,000 for the first time ever. Homelessness nationally has also reached record figures, with 6,709 people now without a home around the country.  Figures released today show that over 1,000 families and almost 2,500 children are now homeless around the country. Meanwhile, the Dublin Simon Community opened a new counselling service in Dublin today.  READ MORE

MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING CALL FOR COLLEGES

Irish Independent, Wednesday November 2nd 2016

College and university employees should have mandatory mental health training to deal with a surge in the number of young adults experiencing stress.  A report from the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability charity and the National Learning Network found that today's crop of post-secondary students are more commonly experiencing stress and anxiety than previous generations. READ MORE

 TRAVELLERS SHOULD BE RECOGNISED AS DISTINCT ETHNICITY

Irish Examiner, Thursday  October 27th 2016

 Travellers should be recognised as having a distinct ethnicity, the Government will be told. However, the recommendation from the justice and equality committee will echo the previous committee’s call from two years ago which was largely ignored. Emily Logan, the Chief Human Rights and Equality Commissioner, told the committee she had hoped the Carrickmines’ tragedy in which 10 people died last year would have changed attitudes. However, she said institutional prejudice remained “pervasive”, as borne out when she met with the local council to discuss accommodating the survivors and found officials were more responsive to those members of the public objecting to the accommodation plans, writes Caroline O’Doherty. READ MORE

MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE TO KEEP TRAVELLER CHILDREN IN EDUCATION

Evening Echo, Monday October 17th 2016

Currently, only 13% of all Traveller children complete secondary school. This figure is a stark one, and one that needs to change, according to young education advocate Chrisdina O’Neill. She speaks to Evening Echo reporter Kelly O’Brien.  READ MORE

 BUDGET 2017 – EDUCATION ANNOUNCEMENTS WILL HAVE NEGLIGIBLE IMPACT ON EDUCATION DISADVANTAGE

Barnardos Wednesday 12th October 2016

An additional €37m funding for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency is welcomed and must be directed towards frontline services, said Barnardos today. However the children’s charity added that disappointingly, Budget 2017 decisions regarding education will do little to assist low income families struggling to meet school costs or tackle educational disadvantage. READ MORE

TRAVELLER EDUCATION: JUST 13% OF TRAVELLER CHILDREN COMPLETE SECOND-LEVEL EDUCATION

Irish Examiner Wednesday October 12th 2016

Pavee Point has called for college scholarships and for earlier interventions in second level to keep Traveller children in school.  They were among several suggestions made at a national seminar in Cork yesterday to break down the barriers Irish Travellers face while progressing to higher education writes Eoin English. READ MORE

 2,500 EXTRA POSTS ANNOUNCED FOR SCHOOLS

RTE.ie Wednesday 12th October 2016

At least 1,400 of the new teaching posts will be needed to cope with rising demographics. The education budget will increase by 5% next year, with much of the increase going towards funding growing numbers of students in the system. An additional 170 assistant and deputy principal posts will be allowed for some of the country's largest schools. READ MORE

SOME 5,584 TRAVELLERS LIVE IN OVERCROWDED CONDITIONS

Irish Times, Saturday October 8th 2016

The system of providing adequate and safe accommodation is clearly not working. A year after 10 people died in a fire at an unofficial Traveller site in Carrickmines, Dublin, the number of Traveller families living in such conditions has increased writes Kitty Holland. READ MORE 

 10% OF PRIMARY PUPILS MISS MORE THAN 20 SCHOOL DAYS EACH YEAR           

Irish Examiner, Friday 7th October 2016      

10% of primary pupils, and one in six secondary students, misses more than 20 school days each year. Rates of non-attendance at both primary and secondary school are getting worse, with an estimated average of 56,400 students missing out on school each day writes Seán McCárthaigh. READ MORE

 END CHILD POVERTY BY INVESTING IN SERVICES, NOT CUTTING TAXES

Barnardos, September 29th 2016 

Barnardos Infographic on USC 

The Government has a responsibility to take steps towards ending child poverty in Budget 2017, and to do that it must forgo tax cuts and invest in public services, said Barnardos today. The children’s charity was outlining its top asks for Budget 2017.  Fergus Finlay, CEO, Barnardos, said, “Budget 2017 is the Government’s first chance to deliver on its pledge to create a ‘Fairer Ireland’ for all. That one in nine children live in consistent poverty is a national scandal. We can only deliver a ‘Fairer Ireland’ if we ensure every child has a safe and stable home and never has to go hungry.  READ MORE

MARTIN: SCHOOLS MUST IMPROVE FOCUS ON TRAVELLERS' EDUCATIONAL NEEDS

RTE.ie Tuesday September 27th 2016

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said Travellers remain among the most disadvantaged educationally. The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has called on Catholic schools to address the educational needs of Travellers "more effectively".  Speaking at a mass to mark the start of the new school year Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said all the indications were that Travellers remained persistently among the most disadvantaged educationally.

 SLOW BUT SURER

Traveller Strategy developing well but key is implementation

Village Magazine Monday September 26th 2016

The European Commission has made impressive efforts to secure the wellbeing of Roma and Travellers across the Member States. In 2011, it developed the ‘EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020’ to tackle the marginalisation and poor socio-economic conditions of the Roma (including Irish Travellers). Each Member State was required to draw up a national Roma integration strategy that set targets in education, employment, health and housing and that allocated sufficient funding to achieve them. The response to date by the Irish Government has been inadequate writes Ronnie Fay

 DRAFT PLAN CONSIDERS RECOGNISING TRAVELLERS AS ETHNIC GROUP

Irish Times, Tuesday September 27th 2016

National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy to be signed off by end of 2016. A new National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy should be signed off by the end of the year, a consultation meeting was told on Monday. The Dublin meeting of the strategy consultation, held at the Department of Justice and Equality, was told feedback from meetings around the country and from submissions, would be collated and a revised strategy brought to the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy steering group and the Minister of State for Equality David Stanton writes Fiona Gartland

 ADDITIONAL 200 BEDS AND OTHER MEASURES PLEDGED TO END HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

 Indepentent. ie Friday September 23rd 2016

Senior government ministers have pledged to bring an end to the homelessness crisis through a series of measures which include the introduction of 200 additional beds for rough sleepers. At least 1,500 so-called rapid build units, also known as modular homes, will be built by the end of 2018.  And the Housing Agency will purchase 1,600 vacant properties, a number of which the Government says will be used to provide permanent homes for homeless families writes Niall O’Connor

 GETTING 'EARLY YEARS' PLAN RIGHT IS VITAL FOR FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN

Irish Independent, Friday September 23rd 2016

The care and education given to children in crèches and preschools, helps them to flourish. Much of the discussion in recent days around the Government developing a new State-subsidised childcare programme has focused on how this move, if it happens, will impact on "squeezed, middle-income" families, writes Tanya Ward of the Children’s Rights Alliance

 SURVEY FINDS MOST PARENTS WANT TRAINING TO HELP WITH THEIR CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH

Western People, Wednesday September 21st 2016

The majority of parents would like mental health training, according to a new report. St Patrick’s Mental Health Services says 88% of parents believe they would benefit from more support or training on mental health and well-being.

JUST ONE IN 10 DUBLIN HOMELESS HOUSED IN ‘15

Irish Examiner, Wednesday September 21st 2016

Just one in 10 homeless people in Dublin got the chance to move out of emergency accommodation and into a home last year, it has emerged. “People have become trapped in the revolving door of homelessness,” said Sam McGuinness, chief executive of the Dublin Simon Community. “If we look at our emergency services for 2015, there was only a one in ten chance of moving out of emergency accommodation into a home.”  At the launch of the charity’s 2015 report in Dublin yesterday, Mr McGuinness said 90% of its residents were deemed long-term homeless — without a home for longer than six months writes Evelyn Ring and Noel Baker

 REPORT ON DUBLIN HOMELESS REVEALS ‘EXTRAORDINARY’ FIGURES, SAYS CHARITY

Western People, Tuesday September 20th 2016 

Almost 60% of people in emergency accommodation have been homeless for more than two years, according to a new report from The Dublin Simon Community.  The charity, which is releasing its annual report today, also said that it has seen a 70% increase in demand for its mental health support services – a “colossal increase”, according to spokesman Sam McGuinness.

 COST OF SCHOOL UNIFORMS AND BOOKS TO BE CUT UNDER NEW PLAN: PARENTS TO GET SOME FINANCIAL RELIEF UNDER GOVERNMENT’S ACTION PLAN FOR EDUCATION

Irish Times, Friday September 16th 2016

A credit union survey earlier this year found the average cost of sending a child to a non-fee-paying primary school in the coming year will be just under €1,000, while the cost of a “free” education in any of the State’s secondary schools will climb to almost €1,500. Parents with school-going children are set to get some financial relief on the cost of books and uniforms under the Government’s new education strategy. The Action Plan for Education, launched on Wednesday, said it would establish ‘a framework that helps schools reduce costs bearing on parents’ writes Fiach Kelly, Conor Pope

COST OF SCHOOL UNIFORMS AND BOOKS TO BE CUT UNDER NEW PLAN

Google News September 2016 

CUTS TO UNIFORM AND BOOKS BILLS IN SCHOOLS PLAN

 Irish Independent, Friday September 16th 2016

Parents will finally be offered some relief on the exorbitant cost of schoolbooks and uniforms under a new strategy for education. The action plan launched by the Government promises to build the best education system in Europe within a decade writes Katherine Donnelly.

EDUCATION ACTION PLAN AIMS TO CUT EARLY SCHOOL LEAVING:  EARLY SCHOOL LEAVING WILL BE REDUCED TO 10% IN DEIS OR DISADVANTAGED SCHOOLS, IT WAS ANNOUNCED.

Irish Examiner, Friday September 16th 2016

The Government has committed to significantly reducing early school leaving, boosting the number of apprenticeships, and piloting state-funded afterschool care services. Education Minister Richard Bruton made the commitments at the launch of an action plan for education. They come as the Government prepares to pay for an extra 650 teachers in the budget next month.  Mr Bruton outlined details of the action plan, which will be reviewed annually and aims to make education here the best in Europe by 2026 writes Juno McEnroe

 LET THE CHILDREN PLAY: IS TOO MUCH INACTIVITY NEGATIVELY IMPACTING OUR CHILDREN'S LIVES

Independent.ie Wednesday 14th September 2016

As Manchester United gets the circus in to teach their Academy youths how to fall, our reporter looks at how sedentary lifestyles and coddling are impacting our kids. It's already abundantly clear that children today spend much of their time indoors, usually being mesmerised by the virtual world, and that this inactivity is contributing to making them fat. According to Safe Food Ireland, one quarter of our children are overweight and many are not getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity they need every day to stay healthy.

 

EMOTIONS PIVOTAL TO CHILDREN’S LEARNING CAPACITY, FORUM TOLD.

Irish Times, Wednesday September 14th 2016

Trauma, anxiety and depression cited as key drivers in retarding academic progress. If a child is repeatedly failing academically the most likely reason is a mental health difficulty, a conference has heard, writes Kitty Holland. Dr Tony Bates, founder and chief executive of the youth mental health organisation Jigsaw, said emotions were central to the capacity to learn and if a young person was experiencing trauma, anxiety or depression they were less able to. “If a child is not learning in school it is frustrating for everyone”. 

FOCUS IRELAND REPORTS 10% SPIKE IN HOMELESSNESS IN PAST YEAR

Western People, Thursday September 1st 2016

One of the country’s largest homeless charities saw a 9% jump in the number of people it helped last year. Focus Ireland supported more than 12,500 people who had no home or were at risk of losing their home – the highest number in the 30 years the agency has been doing this work. The figure was up from 11,500 people in the previous year. Founder Sr Stanislaus Kennedy said the charity would provide 600 more homes by the end of 2019 – 150 each year – to help tackle the crisis. 

DESPITE RECOVERY, IRELAND REMAINS A HUGELY UNEQUAL SOCIETY

Irish Times Wednesday August 24th 2016

Children and women are worst hit by a society whose policies refuse to cherish all its people equally. The fact that the number of homeless children in the capital exceeds 2,000 for the first time since current records began is further evidence Ireland is a deeply unequal country. Economic inequality is worsening despite the recovery and, for those experiencing inequality, particularly children, Ireland is a very harsh place writes Rory Hearne 

TIME TO TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF PARENTS AND END EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY

Barnardos.ie        Wednesday August 3rd 2016

Parents demand action from new government to reduce the burden of school costs, said Barnardos today. Launching the results of their annual School Costs Survey the children’s charity echoed this call, as they reveal the huge pressure parents face finding the cash to cover their children’s education.

Read Barnardos' briefing paper School Costs Survey Briefing 2016 

Read Barnardos' School Costs 2016 Factsheet

View Barnardos' School Costs 2016 Infographic 

CLAIM OF FREE EDUCATION IN IRELAND ‘AN INSULT’, BARNARDOS SAYS

Irish Times, Wednesday August 3rd 2016

Charity says parents ‘at the end of their tether trying to grapple with’ school costs. The Irish education system has “inequality and unfairness” at its core, while claims of free education are an “insult” to parents struggling to cover back-to-school costs, Barnardos has said, writes Conor Pope 

€100K FOR INNER-CITY DUBLIN YOUTH GROUPS

Irish Examiner Friday July 29th 2016

Parents living in areas menaced by Dublin’s inner-city gang feud are “afraid to let their children” outside because of the risk of being caught up in violent attacks.  Taoiseach Enda Kenny recently launched a plan to tackle gang violence in Dublin's inner city.   Children and Youth Affairs Minister Katherine Zappone revealed the situation as she launched a Government-backed strategy to protect young people from the gang crisis and ensure they are no longer “living in the shadow of the gun” writes Fiachra Ó’Cionnaith 

DUBLIN’S NORTH INNER CITY TO RECEIVE €1.6M IN FUNDING

Irish Times Monday July 25th 2016

Government will also re-open Fitzgibbon Street Garda station after recent murders. A total of €1.6 million is to be invested into Dublin’s north inner city in an attempt to solve the difficulties of drugs and gang related violence facing the area writes Sarah Bardon  

NUMBERS OF CHILDREN IN CONSISTENT POVERTY ALMOST DOUBLES DURING RECESSION

Irish Times Thursday July 21st 2016

Tasc report indicates that women and children bore the brunt of recessionary years.  The impact of poverty on children’s well-being is “profound” says the report.  The proportion of children in consistent poverty almost doubled during the recession while women lost 6 per cent more of their income than men, a report from the independent think tank Tasc shows. 

 ARE CHILDREN BEING IGNORED? WATCH AND SHARE BARNARDOS’SHORT ANIMATION 

NO CHILD SHOULD BE HUNGRY IN IRELAND. IT’S A CHOICE WE MAKE

Irish Examiner Friday June 24th 2016

One in 10 children here lacks adequate housing, food, clothing or warmth, but austerity was a political decision, as was the fact that poor families bear the brunt of it, says Tanya Ward. CHILD poverty is not inevitable. 

FINTAN O’TOOLE: WHY WE SHOULD BE HOPEFUL ABOUT TACKLING CHILD POVERTY

Irish Times Friday June 24th 2016

By investing in young citizens, democracies can rediscover the joys of good government. ‘The proportion of children living in consistent poverty nearly doubled in the austerity years. Basic hunger returned as a reality.’  This morning in Dublin, two members of the Cabinet will be talking, not about Brexit, but about child poverty. Minister for Children Katherine Zappone and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar will address a conference called Making Child Poverty Policies Real. Its aim is to assess the performance of both the State and the European Union in dealing with the single greatest abuse of human rights in contemporary Ireland and Europe. 

BARNARDOS ASKS GOVERNMENT TO INVEST IN PUBLIC SERVICES TO ADDRESS CHILD POVERTY ISSUE

Irish Examiner Wednesday 22nd June 2016

Barnardos worked with over 13,000 children and families affected by poverty last year.  The figures released today by Barnardos show that since the general election, about 300 children have become homeless.  The charity says these children have been unaffected by the economic recovery says June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy at Barnardos 

NUMBER OF HOMELESS FAMILIES IN DUBLIN SOARS BY OVER A THIRD

Irish Independent, Tuesday June 21st 2016

The most significant change in the face of homelessness in recent years has been the number of families losing their homes.  The most significant change in the face of homelessness in recent years has been the number of families losing their homes. Homeless family numbers have increased yet again in Dublin with more than 1,800 children now living in temporary accommodation in the city writes Alan O’Keeffe 

OIREACHTAS REPORT MUST DELIVER FOR 1,000s OF CHILDREN CAUGHT IN THE HOUSING CRISIS

Barnardos Friday June 17th 2016

Having a place to call home is the number one priority for thousands of families in Ireland today, therefore the wide-ranging recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness couldn’t be more timely, said June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy at Barnardos.

Read Barnardos’ report The Hidden Housing Crisis. 

NOBLE IDEAS WE SHOULD SUPPORT - CHANGING EDUCATION

Irish Examiner Editorial, Tuesday, June 14th 2016

THE news that tests of numeracy and literacy in primary schools have recorded the best results in a generation must be welcomed in a meaningful, practical way.  

The best way to do this would be by supporting the methods that have realised targets set in the 2011-2020 National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. That these results have been achieved well ahead of schedule must also be recognised.

Education Minister Richard Bruton is to do this when he will publish a plan to try to eradicate disadvantage in education next year. Part of that plan will include devoting more time to the old, once-scorned Three Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic. This will cheer some of the crusty reactionaries so enthusiastic about criticising what they see as falling standards in nearly every sphere of life but it is far, far more important that these proven methods and a new emphasis will empower young children with essential life skills.

Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools — DEIS — schools recorded a significant improvement in reading, but a large proportion of students in the most disadvantaged urban schools can only read at the lowest standards. This weakness was echoed in maths. This is an education and resources issue but it may be necessary to include a cultural element in proposals to confront these life-defining limitations.

These are noble ambitions and should be supported with enthusiasm by those whose lives they could well change. 

PRIMARY SCHOOL CLASS SIZE AMONG HIGHEST IN EUROPE

Irish Examiner Tuesday June 14th 2016

Average school class size in Irish primary schools remain among the highest in Europe with almost one-quarter of all schoolchildren in classes of 30 or more in the current school year.  New figures published by the Department of Education show just under 24% of all pupils in primary schools where teachers have class sizes of 30 or more students. The average class size in most developed countries is around 21, according to the OECD. Education Minister Richard Bruton said the staffing schedule in the current school year at primary level is for a pupil-teacher ratio of 1:28 writes Seán McCárthaigh

 EVERY CHILD FACING EDUCATIONAL DISADVANTAGE MUST BE PRIORITISED

Barnardos Monday June 13th 2016

The Minister for Education’s aim to publish an Action Plan for Disadvantaged Schools before the end of the year is encouraging, but must take account of all children living in disadvantage, not just those who attend DEIS schools writes June Tinsley, Head of Advocay at Barnardos 

POVERTY ‘IMPACTING’ CHILDREN’S ABILITY TO LEARN

Irish Examiner Monday June 13th 2016

Money does matter when it comes to children’s learning and if the household is poor, a child is likely to be less successful in the classroom, with potential lifelong consequences.  That is according to economic sociologist Professor Richard Layte whose research has found some of the more challenging classroom behaviours and lower ability of many working class children can be traced back to the resources families have available to them writes Catherine Shanahan 

BRUTON TO PROVIDE EXTRA HELP FOR CHILDREN IN DISADVANTAGED SCHOOLS

Irish Times Monday June 13th 2016

New action plan being drawn up by Richard Bruton will include updated Deis scheme. A series of targeted measures aimed at boosting outcomes for children in disadvantaged schools will feature in a new action plan under consideration by Minister for Education Richard Bruton writes Carl O’Brien 

MUCH HIGHER RISK OF CANCER IN DEPRIVED AREAS

Irish Health.Com Thursday June 9th 2016

Women living in the most deprived areas in Ireland have a 120% increased risk of developing cervical cancer, while men and women in these areas have a 60% increased risk of developing lung cancer, a major new report has revealed.   The report by the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI) found that deprivation, age and the urban/rural divide influence a range of factors when it comes to cancer, including the incidence, survival and treatment of the disease writes Deborah Condon 

RATE OF CERVICAL CANCER 120% HIGHER AMONG POOREST

Irish Examiner, Thursday, June 9th 2016

The incidence of cervical cancer among the poorest women in the country is 120% higher than among the most affluent women.  That is just one of the statistics in a report by the National Cancer Registry, to be published today, which outlines how age, economic status, and where people live impacts on how cancer will affect them writes Stephen Rogers 

WHY ARE POLITICIANS NOT TALKING ABOUT SCHOOL ATTENDANCE?

Irish Times, Tuesday May 31st 2016

There are no votes in ensuring children from lower socio-economic groups get to college.  The best proposal in A Programme for Partnership Government is the intention to address school attendance writes Jacky Jones 

AFTERCARE AND HOMEWORK CLUBS: A GLIMPSE OF THE MODERN SCHOOL?

Irish Times Tuesday May 24th 2016

Schools will be encouraged to make greater out-of-hours use of their facilities writes Carl O’Brien 

EDUCATION MINISTER CONSIDERS AFTER-SCHOOL CARE IN SCHOOLS

Irish Examiner, Monday May 23rd 2016

School buildings may stay open for after-class care in a new strategy being developed by the Education Minister Richard Bruton. Mr Bruton is currently drafting a three-year education strategy, which could see homework clubs and other community programmes held in schools. The issue has long been debated, with barriers to using school buildings including insurance and staffing. 

OUT-OF-HOURS SCHOOLS PLAN KEY TO EDUCATION STRATEGY

Irish Times, Monday May 23rd 2016

Plan to use buildings for afterschool care and homework clubs seen as critical.  Plans to make school buildings available out of hours for afterschool care, homework clubs and other community activities form a key part of three-year education strategy being developed by Minister for Education Richard Bruton writes Carl O’Brien 

TACKLING CHILD POVERTY MUST BE PRIORITY

Letter to The Irish Times from June Tinsley, Barnardos

Irish Times Thursday May 19th 2016

 Sir,

The European Commission has published its 2016 recommendations for the Irish Government.  These are priority areas, including reducing child poverty, broadening the tax base, alleviating household debt, increasing the cost-effectiveness of healthcare and improving the availability of quality affordable childcare, which the commission urges the Government to focus on particularly… 

CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION PROGRAMME SEES KIDS’ IQ SOAR

Irish Examiner Wednesday May 18th 2016

An early childhood intervention programme, involving 200 Dublin families, saw children’s IQ rise by 10 points.  The trial programme, Preparing for Life, which ran from 2008 to 2015, also had a dramatic impact on the children’s health and behaviour.  The participating families were split into either an intervention or a control group, and the mothers were followed from midway through their pregnancy until their children were entering primary school writes Joyce Fegan 

CHILDREN IN PARENTING PROGRAMME 'HEALTHIER, SMARTER AND BETTER BEHAVED'

Irish Examiner Tuesday May 17th, 2016

A new parenting intervention programme has found dramatic results in improving children's IQs, health and behaviour.   The Preparing for Life study, which was trialled in Dublin, focused on intensively mentoring parents from midway through pregnancy until their child started primary school. Children in the programme had fewer behavioural problems at ages two, three and four, displaying fewer externalising problems, such as aggressive behaviour, and fewer internalising problems, such as anxious behaviour, according to the study [undertaken by the Geary Institute]. 

STATE IS VIOLATING TRAVELLERS’ HUMAN RIGHTS, COUNCIL FINDS

Irish Times Monday May 16th 2016

European committee criticises ‘insufficient’ provision and standard of accommodation.  Travellers’ human rights are being violated by the Irish Government’s failure to provide enough accommodation and to maintain many sites at an acceptable standard, a European committee has found writes Kitty Holland 

EUROPE: TRAVELLER EVICTIONS A 'VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS' BY GOVERNMENT

Irish Examiner, Monday May 16th 2016

 The Government has been found responsible for multiple human rights violations in relation to Traveller accommodation and evictions.  In a decision to be published today, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Social Rights says the Government has failed to provide sufficient accommodation, that conditions are poor in many sites and that Traveller evictions are not handled properly writes Caroline O’Doherty 

DEIS SCHOOLS SEE BIGGEST DROP IN GUIDANCE COUNSELLORS

Irish Times, Monday May 16th 2016

Institute says there is a socio-economic hierarchy to the provision of hours. Where next? Institute of Guidance Counsellors says equality of access to guidance counselling is essential. The most marked drop in the availability of guidance counsellor services since the economic crash has been in the country’s poorest schools, according to the organisation representing the sector writes Colm Keena

 

EXTRA 620 RESOURCE TEACHERS PLANNED NEXT YEAR

 Irish Independent, Friday 29th April 2016

Katherine Donnelly

Schools are to get up to 620 extra resource teachers next year to help support students with special needs.  The increase reflects the ongoing rise in enrolments in primary and post-primary schools, and new diagnoses of children who are entitled to the extra support. It will bring the number of resource teachers in schools to above 7,000, compared with 5,285 in September 2013 writes Katherine Donnelly 

PROXIMITY TO COLLEGE RAISES CHANCES OF DISADVANTAGED GOING; LOCAL ACCESS PROGRAMMES CREDITED WITH BOOSTING NUMBERS IN DUBLIN COURSES

Irish Times, Monday 25th April 2015

Students in relatively disadvantaged areas of the capital are more likely to go on to third-level if they live close to a college, new figures suggest writes Carl O’Brien 

HOMELESSNESS CRISIS: 'I WAS STANDING OUTSIDE MY HOME, CRYING. IT REALLY DID BREAK ME WHEN I HAD TO LEAVE IT'

Irish Independent Tuesday 19th April 2016

It is the greatest crisis to hit the country since the banking crash and the homeless statistics speak for themselves. But it is the heart-breaking stories behind the shameful facts and figures that tell us most writes Kim Bielenberg 

ACCESS PROGRAMMES AND UNIVERSITIES

Irish Times, Letters to the Editor, April 18th 2016

FURTHER PROOF CHILDREN COME LAST IN IRELAND

Barnardos, Thursday 14th April 2016

As talks to form a government drag on, a new report released by Unicef shows children are not a political priority in Ireland. The report which compares how children fare across OECD countries highlights Irish children face worrying levels of deprivation and inequality.  June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos, said, “It’s unacceptable that a third of children in Ireland live in deprivation. We know the profound and long term damage material deprivation in childhood can have and it is a disgrace that this scenario has been allowed to continue unabated… 

UNICEF: THIRD OF IRISH CHILDREN LIVE IN MATERIALLY DEPRIVED HOUSEHOLDS

Irish Examiner, Thursday 14th April 2016

 Almost one-third of Irish children live in materially-deprived households, according to new rankings by Unicef.  The Fairness for Children report card by the international agency showed Ireland was seventh out of 41 EU/OECD countries, despite findings children are now the most neglected group in Irish society.  The league table of inequality in child well-being in rich countries focuses on the gap between children at the bottom and in the middle and shows growing inequality among children in high income countries writes, Noel Baker. 

AS GLOBAL  INEQUALITY SPIRALS, WEALTHY NATIONS ARE FAILING CHILDREN LIVING ON EDGE OF POVERTY

Irish Independent Thursday 14th April 2106

The recent global debate about rising inequality seems focused on the accumulation of wealth at the very top. While this is a serious problem requiring urgent attention, it can distract attention from the devastating, and arguably more important, issue of inequality amongst those at the bottom. This is where inequality seriously diminishes the chances in life for the most vulnerable global citizens – children, writes Peter Power. 

PROMO FOR FILM ENCOURAGING YOUNG PEOPLE TO DISCUSS MENTAL HEALTH GOES VIRAL

Irish Examiner, Thursday 14th April 2016

A trailer promoting a mental health documentary being made by college students has been viewed 200,000 times online.  The students, Ed Maclulevicius, Cathal Murphy, Billy Twohig, and Amy O’Regan say they have been “blown away” by the support their Our Mental Health project is receiving.  Mental health campaigner, Bressie, has applauded the project, which is encouraging young people to talk openly about their mental health.   Cathal Murphy says a motivation for the film was that poor mental health was “often discussed too late”, in the aftermath of suicides writes Claire O’Sullivan. 

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF HARDSHIP ARE A BARRIER TO HIGHER EDUCATION

Irish Times, Tuesday 12th April 2016

Poverty can lead to a cutting-off of stimulating experiences for children and to mental-health problems for parents, with all its knock-on effects.  Lower income means fewer stimulating experiences, fewer books and learning opportunities, even when we adjust for the parents’ own level of education.  It is nearly 50 years since Fianna Fáil minister for education Donogh O’Malley announced plans for free second-level education for every child up to intermediate level writes Richard Layte 

MIND THE GAP: THE STARK CLASS DIVIDE IN ACCESS TO THIRD LEVEL

Irish Times, Tuesday 12th April 2016

Students from disadvantaged areas are still much less likely to progress to higher education. The challenges have been identified, but how do we go about bridging the social divide?  Why do almost 90 per cent of students in Donnybrook go to college but just 16 per cent in Darndale? The reality in Ireland is that going to university can involve crossing some of the deepest ravines of the social divide. Despite “free fees”, we have failed to significantly narrow the participation gap writes Peter McGuire 

SCHOOLS MUST PREPARE PLANS TO MONITOR PUPIL ATTENDANCE

Irish Times, Friday April 8th 2016

More than 500 parents threatened with prosecution last year over attendance. All schools will be required to prepare detailed plans to monitor school attendance under new guidelines.  Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has launched a new “statement of strategy” aimed at improving supports available to students at risk of dropping out of school writes Carl O’Brien

LIMERICK SCHOOLBOY'S 'POSITIVITY PACK' IS THE LATEST START-UP TO TACKLE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

The Irish Examiner, Tuesday April 5th 2016              

A Limerick schoolboy has launched a new start-up in a bid to raise awareness of positive mental health.  Positivity Pack is the brainchild of 17-year-old James Corneille, who is aiming to lower stress levels and boost happiness with his innovative idea writes Rebecca Maher 

ILLICIT TRADE IN PRESCRIPTION DRUGS A GROWING PROBLEM FOR DUBLIN’S NORTH INNER CITY

Irish Times, Tuesday April 5th 2016

Prescription drugs have changed the inner-city Dublin drugs scene in the past two years. Dealing in these semi-legal products is low risk and takes place in full public view, yet their effects on addicts are no less severe than other drugs with more fearsome reputations writes Patrick Freyne. 

RECESSION HIT HARDEST AT GENERATION NOW IN 20S AND MID-30S

Irish Times, Tuesday April 5th 2016

We need policies to assist those born 1980-1995 whose suicide rate and hardship are highest.  The youth unemployment rate (those aged 15-24) hit a high point of 30 per cent in 2012. This was double the highest rate hit by the general unemployment rate (for those aged 15-74) in this recession writes Rory Hearne 

THE PROBLEM FOR POOR, WHITE KIDS IS THAT A PART OF THEIR CULTURE HAS BEEN DESTROYED

The Guardian, Monday April 4th 2016

Thatcherism didn’t just crush the unions; it crushed a story – as the report that says working-class white children go backwards at school proves.  The report came couched in the usual language of inclusion, technocracy and “what works”. Disadvantaged children are doing so badly at school that only one in five hits an international benchmark designed by the authors writes Paul Mason

INTO CONFERENCE: HOMELESS PUPILS ‘SLEEPING DURING CLASS’

Irish Times Tuesday 29th March 2016

Teacher in Dublin 15 said children fell asleep due to living in cramped hotel rooms.  Children attending primary school are falling asleep in class due to the impact of homelessness on their lives, the INTO conference heard on Monday writes Peter McGuire 

EDUCATION SYSTEM FAILING VISION OF 1916 LEADERS - INTO CHIEF

Irish Times Tuesday 29th March 2016

Ideals of Rising impossible to realise until large class sizes tackled, conference hears.  The education system is failing to realise the vision of the 1916 leaders, Irish National Teachers Organisation president Emma Dineen said on the opening day of the union’s conference in Wexford writes Peter McGuire 

TEACHERS SEEING DIRE EFFECT OF HOMELESSNESS IN CLASSROOMS

Independent .ie  Tuesday March 29th 2016

Teachers are growing increasingly concerned at the effects of the rising homelessness crisis on children in their classrooms.   Significant numbers of pupils are coming to school from emergency accommodation and are showing the physical and psychological impact of having to live in hotel rooms. The grim reality for many young children was spelled out by Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) President Emma Dineen, at the union's annual conference writes Catherine Donnelly 

THOUSANDS ON WELFARE AFTER LEAVING SCHOOL, FIGURES SHOW

Irish Times Monday 28th March 2016

New reports examine outcomes for students who complete school and early leavers.  Almost 4,000 second-level students who left school in 2011 were in receipt of social welfare by the end of the year, new figures show.  A Department of Education report shows most of the 55,000 students who completed school in that year progressed to higher education (53 per cent) or further education and training (28 per cent) writes Carl O’Brien 

TEACHERS SAY CUTS MAKING IT HARDER TO HELP VULNERABLE PUPILS

Irish Times Wednesday March 23rd 2016

Almost half of principals say student mental health guidelines not adequately implemented.  Secondary school teachers say education cuts are making it increasingly difficult to support the wellbeing of vulnerable students.   An online survey of more than 1,700 secondary school principals and teachers commissioned by the ASTI shows almost half of principals report that Department of Education guidelines on student mental health are not adequately implemented in their schools writes Carl O'Brien. 

STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH IMPACTED BY STAFF CUTS

Irish Examiner Wednesday 23rd March 2016

 Cutbacks in schools have left teachers and principals unable to care for the pastoral needs of their students, including their mental health, a second-level teaching union claims.  The Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland claims a moratorium on school middle-management posts is undermining supports. The union commissioned a Millward Brown poll of 1,749 teachers and principals. 82% of principals said the moratorium undermines pastoral care structures. Some 40% of principals said Department of Education guidelines on student mental health are not adequately implemented writes Stephen Rogers 

CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ALLIANCE SAYS GOVERNMENT ‘LEFT BEHIND’ OUR MOST VULNERABLE CHILDREN

Irish Examiner Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Government was graded on its progress on the implementation of commitments to children under the programme for government 2011-16.  Ireland’s most vulnerable children have been left behind by the Government, according to the Children’s Rights Alliance. The Government was given an F grade for failing to address child and youth homelessness. Child poverty was awarded an E grade, a step-up from last year’s F, but still a fail, writes Evelyn Ring

You can access the Children's Rights Alliance Report Card 2016 here 

IS THIS STILL THE MOST ECONOMICALLY DEPRESSED TOWN IN IRELAND?

The Journal.ie, 24th February 2016

We got a new extension this year… It was probably helped by the fact that that report came out.  As local teacher Jay Murphy explains, there are upsides – believe it or not – to being named the poorest town in Ireland writes Daragh Brophy

 Letter to the Editor

CUTS AFFECTING DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN

Irish Times, Monday December 19th 2011

Sir, – Did Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn engage in even a basic impact assessment of his sweeping Budget cuts to designated disadvantaged primary schools? Many DEIS schools (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) will lose between four and six teachers, with estimates that at least one will lose 12 teachers for working with pupils at extremely high levels of need.

Junior DEIS schools are to be treated on a pupil-to-teacher ratio of an “alleviated” level: 18-to-one from 15-to-one. DEIS band-2 schools are to go from a 24-to-one ratio to 28-to-one. Many administrative principals are to go, the support teacher scheme to go, the learning support system allocation changed. 250 teachers in DEIS disadvantaged primary schools are to be transferred to other schools nationally.

These measures are in stark contrast with international recommendations, an affront to social justice and solidarity, and an appalling dismantlement of system supports for those pupils at a high level of need in school.

These savage cuts are directly contrary to OECD recommendations to prioritise educational resources for most socio-economically marginalised areas and they fly in the face of the Government’s EU commitments to reaching the EU2020 target of 10 per cent early school leavers nationally. They directly undermine the national literacy strategy much vaunted by the Minister. These cuts will undo the legacy of Niamh Bhreathnach, the minister for education who initiated the Breaking the Cycle scheme in 1996. It sets back the education of these children to a pre-1996 era. These cuts are an assault on the notable improvements to early school leaving figures nationally in recent years.

Aside from the human costs of these Budget proposals, the economic costs of these cuts will be felt by society in the medium to long-term, including through the justice and health system. The economic case for investment in primary education is well recognised internationally. These vastly disproportionate cuts to the education of our disadvantaged pupils will haunt the Government and Irish society for generations to come. We call on Mr Quinn to rescind these cuts as a matter of urgency. – Yours, etc,

PAT COURTNEY, Principal, St Vincent’s BNS, Nth William Street; Dr PAUL DOWNES, St Patrick’s College; BREDA MURRAY, Principal, Our Lady Immaculate Junior School Darndale; CATHERINE GROVES, Principal, Central Model Junior School Marlborough Street; MARK CANDON, Principal, St Laurence O’Tooles Senior Boys; Dr MARIE MORAN, School of Social Justice, UCD; Dr MARY BYRNE, National University of Ireland, Galway EIBHLÍN MCGARRY, Principal St Mary’s National School; JEAN HUGHES, Principal, St Monica’s Infant Girls’ School, Edenmore; DARINA BURKE Principal Rutland NS Lr Gloucester St; Dr KARL KITCHING School of Education, University College Cork; LEAH O’TOOLE, Marino Institute of Education; Dr Catherine Maunsell, St Patrick’s College; RITA TIGHE, Principal St Vincent’s GNS; BRÍD BROPHY, Plás Mhuire BNS Dorset St; MARLENE MCCORMACK, Early Childhood Ireland; FRAN CASSIDY, Social Policy Consultant/Filmmaker CATHERINE GROVES, Central Model Infant’s School; SIOBHÁN HENRY,Principal, St Laurence O’Toole GNS; MARY MOORE, Principal, St Laurence O’Toole JBNS; JOHN CALL, Central Model Senior School,

C/o St Vincent’s Infant Boys School, North William Street, Dublin 1.