Dáil Éireann - Volume 623 - 04 July, 2006
Written Answers. - Early School Leavers.
Mr. Coveney Mr. Coveney
Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of children who fail to make the transition from primary to secondary education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25793/06]
Mr. Ferris Mr. Ferris
Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Science the action she proposes to take to address the number of pupils failing to make the transition from primary to secondary level. [25812/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin:I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 109 together.
There is no up to date research on the number of children who do not transfer from primary to post-primary education on an annual basis. My Department is currently planning the development of a Primary Pupils Database, which will facilitate the collation of much more accurate and comprehensive data on transfer rates in the future. Together with the current Post-Primary Pupil Database, this will allow much improved tracking of where children go after primary school.
Measures designed to improve school completion include the establishment of the National Educational Welfare Board in 2002 with a remit to monitor school attendance and tackle the problems of absenteeism and early school leaving, which includes the transfer of pupils from primary to post primary.
Working with parents to promote school attendance is an important part of the work of the Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL) and in addition to this, a key component of the School Completion Programme (SCP) is developing strong links between primary and post-primary schools in disadvantaged areas.
The School Support Programme under DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the new action plan for educational inclusion will bring together, and build upon, a number of existing interventions in schools with a concentrated level of disadvantage. The new action plan is being introduced on a phased basis, starting during the current school year. It will involve an additional annual investment of €40m on full implementation.
As a result of the identification process, 840 schools have been invited to participate in the  new Programme. These comprise 640 primary schools (320 urban/town schools and 320 rural schools) and 200 second-level schools.
The key principle of early intervention, to identify and help children at risk of leaving school early is a major component of DEIS, with a continuing emphasis being placed on the development of effective transfer programmes for pupils making the transition to second-level, by building on the existing work of the HSCL scheme and the School Completion Programme in this area. Initiatives such as Familiarisation Days and week-long transfer programmes for new entrants to second level have been shown to have very positive results in helping children to make a smooth transition to their new school and I am anxious that a strengthening of such programmes be prioritised under the new Action Plan. The additional guidance counselling provision, being made available for second-level schools having the highest concentrations of disadvantage, will also assist in this regard.
Dáil Éireann 623 Written Answers. Early School Leavers.