3rd Sector organisations input needed to inform expert panel on educational underachievement

On 28 July 2020, Education Minister, Peter Weir, MLA, announced the appointment of an Expert Panel to examine and address the links between educational underachievement and social disadvantage.

The panel has been established under the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement which set out the requirement for an expert group "to examine and address links between persistent educational underachievement and socio-economic background".

The chair and five panel members are: Dr Noel Purdy, Director of Research and Scholarship, Stranmillis University College; Mary Montgomery, Principal, Belfast Boys’ Model School; Kathleen O’Hare, retired Principal, Hazelwood Integrated College and former Principal of St Cecilia’s College; Joyce Logue, Principal, Longtower Primary School, Derry/Londonderry; Jackie Redpath, Chief Executive, Greater Shankill Partnership and Professor Feyisa Demie, Honorary Professor, Durham University.

The key objectives of the review include the requirement to examine the links between persistent educational underachievement and socio-economic background and to produce a final report and costed action plan to address this issue.

Educational underachievement linked to economic disadvantage is an issue that has persisted for many years despite numerous policy interventions and significant financial investment by the Department of Education and others. Whilst some progress has been made, it is generally recognised that underachievement is due to its inextricable link with poverty in society, which is a much wider issue than education alone.

In order that the Expert Panel is fully informed as to the work already on-going across the public sector, the secretariat to the Panel has been asked to “engage with other government departments, local government and 3rd sector organisations to establish the extent to which educational underachievement is being addressed”.

The Children’s Services Co-operation Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 aims to improve co-operation between Departments and Agencies and places a duty on Children’s Authorities 1 to co-operate where appropriate as they deliver services aimed at improving the well-being of children and young people.

As children’s needs are multi-faceted, they require support across a range of organisational boundaries to deliver transformational change. This is particularly the case if educational underachievement linked to social disadvantage is to be addressed.

The Department of Education are requesting district councils, central government and the voluntary and community sector / 3rd sector to complete the attached template so that the Expert Panel gains a sense of the size of investment to date, how current resources are used and to identify opportunities for more collaboration across these areas.

If you have any queries please contact Dale Heaney at 02891 279402 or [email protected]

Last updated 1 month 1 week ago