Dáil Éireann - Volume 500 - 10 February, 1999

Written Answers. - Breaking the Cycle Scheme.

49. Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when an interim report on the Breaking the Cycle initiative will be published by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1045/99]

92. Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Education and Science if the assessment of the Breaking the Cycle programme is showing positive results; and if an expansion of this programme is being considered for September 1999. [3631/99]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 and 92 together.

Breaking the Cycle is a five-year pilot project that was introduced in autumn 1996 in 33 urban schools and 123 rural schools. The schools involved have undertaken to engage in in-career development and to co-operate with testing procedures and with the evaluation of the pilot project. The evaluation of Breaking the Cycle is being carried out by the Educational Research Centre in Drumcondra. The evaluation began in January 1997 and encompasses preliminary, interim and final reports and a longitudinal study. It is wide-ranging in focus in order to identify and measure the outcomes in all their complexity.

Preliminary reports on each dimension of the project, urban and rural, are under consideration in my Department and a decision will be made in due course regarding their publication. These reports establish base-line data against which developments in the project schools will be assessed through the five-year project period and longitudinally thereafter.

I stress to Deputies that the advice given to me is that the preliminary reports on the two dimensions of Breaking the Cycle are not evaluations. As I said, they were produced in the first year of the project and the work in that period and its effects could not be measured that early. The proposed interim reports will contain data collected to the end of the current school year and the reports will be available early in 2000.