FOLLOWING Minister Joan Burton's remarks about people who opt for social welfare as a lifestyle choice after leaving school, I know that 'signing on' is not a lifestyle choice for the majority of students in our Ballyfermot school but educational cuts could make it inevitable.
Over the past decade, St Dominic's has succeeded in raising attainment, retention and improving literacy skills for our students. In 2000, less than 3pc went on to third-level and by September 2010, this had increased to 27pc.
By 2010, as many as 98.1pc completed Leaving Cert, including 100pc retention of students from the Labre Park Traveller site. As many as 98pc of our students made a lifestyle choice of further education or training.
Up until this year, we had broken the cycle of educational inequality for a number of students and had begun to change attitudes and expectations about their future life choices.
Unfortunately, the cuts to Traveller support hours, special needs hours, the removal of LCVP teaching hours and the moratorium on posts will bring us back to pre-2000.
Unemployment will not be a lifestyle choice but a fact unless the Government acknowledges that schools need resources, so that students can take their rightful place in society.
Liz Smyth OP
St Dominic's Secondary School