Friday 17 August 2018

Action Plan 2018: the highlights


Minister of State Mary Mitchell-O'Connor, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton and Minister of State John Halligan at the launch of the Action Plan for Education 2018 Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney
Minister of State Mary Mitchell-O'Connor, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton and Minister of State John Halligan at the launch of the Action Plan for Education 2018 Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Action Plan for Education 2018 contains 370 individual items for policy implementation. Here are some key actions:

- School Excellence Fund: Support school clusters to undertake innovative projects in areas of Digital, Disadvantage, Creativity, Gaeltacht and School Inspection under the School Excellence Fund.

- Leadership: Support schools in deploying the recent investment of 3,000 extra posts of responsibility. Improve middle management structures in schools and empower school leadership with training, mentoring and resources. A proportion of the CPD budget will be dedicated to delivering on strategic priorities such as innovation and leadership.

- Brexit: Implement Foreign Languages Strategy to significantly increase the number of students studying a foreign language at all levels. Increase Erasmus uptake. Publish strategy to attract world-leading researchers to higher level institutions in Ireland post-Brexit.

- Digital: Implement Computer Science for Leaving Certificate in 40 schools. Implement the School Excellence Fund - Digital to support schools in digital innovation. Progress new maths curriculum for primary schools to include elements of coding. Continue work of Minister's Digital Implementation group of experts.

- STEM: Formally recognise outside of school initiatives at Junior Cycle. Develop new summer courses in STEM subjects and industry placements for teachers. Deliver 20pc increase in take up of students doing STEM for the Leaving Certificate and 40pc increase in female participation.

- Disadvantage: Update DEIS Plan - the plan to tackle educational disadvantage. Develop a more tailored resource allocation model for DEIS schools. Address barriers to higher education.

- Parental Choice: Enact the Parent and Student Charter Bill and the School Admissions Bill. Shortly commence reconfiguration for diversity process to deliver step up in number of multi-denominational schools.

- Higher Education: Enact Technological Universities Bill, with the first TUs to open in September 2018. Review quality of higher education, including the quality of teaching. Implement new model for allocating funding to higher level institutions to better align to national priorities and incentivise lifelong learning, innovation and research. Develop a consistent digital experience for third-level students.

- Wellbeing: Recruit 10 more NEPS psychologists. Provide more guidance to schools on the use of external providers. Publish Wellbeing Policy Statement. Expand student support teams. Support wellbeing programme for Junior Cycle.

- Special Education: Develop first ever in-school speech and language therapy service. Undertake comprehensive assessment of the SNA scheme to ensure achievement of the best outcomes for children with special educational needs.

- Critical skills: Deliver new, revised literacy and numeracy targets given the success of Irish students in meeting existing ones. Increase number of students taking higher level maths at junior cycle and senior cycle.

- Curriculum: trial new assessment methods and commence work on reviewing senior cycle programmes; Implement senior cycle physical education as a Leaving Certificate subject in 80 schools. Develop new religion and ethics programme for primary schools. Implement mathematics, home economics, history, music and geography to new Junior Cycle.

- Skills: Roll out Springboard+ 2018, offering all courses to those in employment for the first time. Conduct review of career guidance. Publish entrepreneurship policy. Develop 25 new apprenticeships and 10 new traineeships

- Teacher supply: establish a Teacher Supply Steering Group; build on initiatives already announced and develop a policy on teacher supply to support the availability of relevant teaching resources across the system in the short-medium and long term.

- Gaeltacht: Implement Gaeltacht Schools Policy - for which the budget this year has doubled. Issue grants and resources for schools who have opted into Gaeltacht schools scheme. Commence Schools Excellence Fund - Gaeltacht. Commence new M - Ed programme for Irish language teachers.

- Ongoing Review: every agency under the remit of the Department of Education and Skills will be reviewed to ensure they are in line with ambition to be the best in Europe; first reviews to commence in 2018.

For more information on Project Ireland 2040 visit the official website 


Irish Independent

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