Dáil Éireann - Volume 623 - 06 July, 2006
Written Answers. - Early School Leavers.
Ms Shortall Ms Shortall
 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to the funding crisis in a programme (details supplied) in Dublin 9 in view of the considerable success of this project; if her further attention has been drawn to the fact that there has been a shortfall of €35,000 for the group involved for a number of years, and that while this has been made up by the local drugs task force, this body is no longer in a position to provide this funding; if, in view of the fact that the group provides education services for a high risk group, all of whom have been in trouble with the law, she will make arrangements to fully fund this project and guarantee this funding on an ongoing basis. [28066/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: As I indicated to the Deputy in the Dáil last night the School Completion Programme is a very successful programme targeted at children and young people who are at risk of early school leaving. It is targeted at those in danger of dropping out of the education system or those who may have already dropped out. It is a broadly based programme which is cross-community and cross-sectoral. It works between the primary schools and the second level schools and involves the community to ensure the maximum participation by as many people as possible. It generally targets four to 18 year olds who are both in and out of school to ensure the best outcome for them.
There are currently 82 School Completion Programme (SCP) sites in 21 counties (108 post primary schools and primary schools) with 53 second level schools in the Stay in School Retention Strand (SSR) of the School Completion Proramme in 17 counties. The sites for participation were selected on the basis of a detailed analysis of the pupil retention rates at second level using the Department’s post primary pupil database. This analysis also identified their main feeder primary schools.
€24.7 million has been allocated to the School Completion Programme for 2006.
The programme referred to by the Deputy provides general support for almost 1,600 primary students and approximately 600 post primary students. Intensive targeted supports are provided for 201 primary students and 52 post primary students. In addition it also caters for 6 pupils who are out of school in ‘the School Group’.
The Local Management Committee has submitted its Retention Plan for 2006-2007 to my Department. The Retention Plan outlines all of its proposed activities for the coming year including the estimated cost of retaining the support for the six pupils who are out of school.
€402,000 was allocated to the programme in 2005/2006. In addition to this a further €35,000  was allocated by the Drug Task Force on a once off basis. That is on top of extra supports which the schools in the programme avail of such as home school, community liaison, resource teachers, as well as additional capitation and lower pupil teacher ratios.
The programme’s funding allocation for 2006/2007 is currently being considered in my Department in the context of available resources for the rest of the programmes around the country. The local management committee will be notified directly on the matter.
Ms Shortall Ms Shortall
Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science the funding provided to the school completion programme for each year since its inception, with a breakdown on the allocation to each school; if it is her policy to index link this funding in line with inflation; if not, how these projects can survive without progressively reducing the level of service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28067/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: The objective of the School Completion Programme is to provide a range of interventions in areas of disadvantage that support the retention of young people in education. It is based on the project model of an integrated approach involving primary and post primary schools, parents, relevant statutory, voluntary and community agencies.
The programme is funded on a multi-annual basis under the National Development Plan (NDP) with assistance from the European Social Fund (ESF). The funding allocation to the Programme since 2003 is as follows:
There are currently 82 School Completion Programme (SCP) sites in 21 counties (108 post primary schools and 302 primary schools) with 53 second level schools in the Stay in School Retention Strand (SSR) of the School Completion Programme in 17 counties. The sites for participation were selected on the basis of a detailed analysis of the pupil retention rates at second level using the Department’s post primary pupil database. This analysis also identified their main feeder primary schools. As funding allocations are made on a site basis it is not possible to provide a breakdown of the allocation to each school. The 2005/2006 funding allocation to each project site represented an increase of 4% in the 2004/2005 allocation. It is anticipated that there will be an additional increase of 4% in the 2006/2007 allocation.
Dáil Éireann 623 Written Answers. Early School Leavers.