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Blog Archive | Education

Labour investing in schools

Posted on November 17, 2015


Today the Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan with the Tanaiste Joan Burton, announced a €2.8billion investment into a major schools building programme which will deliver 14 new schools by 2018 as well as major building works for 310 schools. This means by 2021 there will be an additional 62,000 places available in schools all over Ireland.

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Minister O'Sullivan launches Digital Strategy for Schools

Posted on October 07, 2015

JOS Digital Schools (1)

Minister Jan O’Sullivan (Minister for Education and Skills) has today launched the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020. Speaking at the launch at the Mercy Secondary School, Inchicore, Dublin 8, Minister O’Sullivan said: “Giving our students the opportunity to develop 21st century skills is a priority. Technology is embedded in all aspects of our lives, and is bringing our society new advantages and solutions every day. “This five year strategy will achieve our goal of allowing all students to develop 21st century skills.

[Download the Digital Strategy for Schools from our policy section here.]

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5 Days 5 Ways – Sustainable Education Staff to Ensure Children’s Future - Minister Jan O'Sullivan

Posted on July 03, 2015

Day 5 teachers SNA 2

Today, we focus on Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan’s success in the allocation of increased staff in schools and the creation of better career opportunities in the education sector. Much has been achieved by Jan as she strives to protect and reform the education system as it is one of the best ways to invest in our economic recovery.

Despite the challenges we have faced over recent years, Labour has protected class sizes, and increased the number of teachers and SNAs working in our schools. In the last Budget, Labour secured funding for an additional 1,700 teachers, resource teachers and SNAs for our schools.

Recently, we have expanded upon that, and agreement was reached to recruit a further 490 SNAs, so that every child who needs support will have access to it. Increasing the number of staff in education is hugely important, but so too is making sure that those working in education have a decent and secure career.

Jan has implemented new recommendations to give greater stability to young teachers early in their careers. We have also agreed a new set of measures to help SNAs obtain full-time hours, allowing them to build the stable careers they need.

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Leaving Cert students get the thumbs up from Jan

Posted on August 13, 2014

Jan Leaving Cert Limerick

Today Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, was in Limerick to present Leaving Cert students at St. Nessan’s Community College with their exam results.

Jan congratulated all 56,990 students around the country who received their results today, and spoke about it being a ‘milestone’ for the students:

Completing secondary school and the Leaving Certificate is a milestone in many people’s lives. Every student should be proud of their achievement. Today is the culmination of much hard work and sacrifice and I hope that the effort students made is reflected in their results.”

Jan also mentioned the fantastic progress being made, with the number of students taking Higher Level Maths up from 16% in 2011 to 27% this year. She wished students the very best for their future:

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: EducationJan OSullivan

Moving to cut School Uniform Costs

Posted on November 11, 2013

Reducing the cost of school uniforms

A new initiative aimed at tackling the cost of school uniforms was announced today by Minister Ruairi Quinn and the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. This will give parents a stronger role in how schools decide their policies on uniforms and aims is to reduce back to school costs even further for families, and giving parents a voice in this process.

Minister Quinn will invite schools to consult parents by use of a template questionnaire which will ballot parents on the school’s uniform policy. Parents will asked questions on whether or not they want a school uniform, and if so, whether they would prefer uniforms that are available in the large retail chains. It will ask whether or not parents want to see a school blazer or school crests, and what type.

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Families helped with back to school costs in Budget 2014

Posted on November 04, 2013

Minister Ruairi Quinn

Families who are struggling to meet the costs of their children’s education were helped in Budget 2014 with the introduction of a nationwide school book rental scheme. The Labour Party recognises the huge sacrifices made by families since the financial crisis took hold and the school book scheme is just one of many initiatives devised to help those families.

The school book rental scheme, which is being extended to every primary school in Ireland, will see the average cost of books in primary school fall from €80/€60 to as little as €20.

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3,300 pupils to benefit from Prefab Replacement scheme

Posted on September 18, 2013

Minister Ruairi Quinn

The replacement of outdated prefabs with modern and permanent accommodation is one issue which Labour Minister Ruairi Quinn has been tackling tirelessly since he launched his Prefab Replacement Scheme last year. The gradual phasing-out of the prefab model in Irish schools was a key pledge at the outset of this Government taking office. This is happening.

Overall, €57 million has been spent on the Scheme since 2012, and this week the Minister confirmed the second batch of schools which are to benefit from the scheme. There are 46 in total, replacing 37 resource rooms and 119 classrooms that are currently being housed in prefabs.

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Tackling bullying in our schools

Posted on September 17, 2013

Anti-bullying training sessions parents MX-2 (1)

Last Friday, Minister Ruairi Quinn announced new anti-bullying procedures for all primary and post-primary schools in Ireland.
These procedures are the first time since 1993 that the guidance for schools has been updated, and specifically deal with cyberbullying for the first time.  Identity-based forms of bullying, such as homophobic bullying or racist bullying are also granted much greater priority than has previously been the case.
The procedures aren’t about blaming the bullies or the victims, or about saying that all the problems of the world need to be tackled in our schools.  Instead, they give clarity to parents about what they can expect from schools, clarity to teachers as to their responsibilities and how they can tackle various situations, and clarity to students to make sure they know what is acceptable, and what is not.
More than anything else, the procedures encourage all schools to build positive climates of respect  - ensuring that all students learn how to respect themselves, and to respect others, regardless of difference.
These procedures have today been supported with the announcement that 70 anti-bullying training sessions for parents will be rolled out between now and the end of the year – funded by the Department of Education and Skills.
The Anti-Bullying Parent Training Programme is being run jointly by the National Parents Council Primary (NPC-P) and the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPC-PP).
Bullying is not a problem schools can or should be left to tackle alone. Parents, families and the wider community have an important role to play in tackling all forms of bullying and in teaching children how to manage relationships, be resilient and have empathy for others.
These two actions came about as a result of the Action Plan on Bullying which Minister Quinn published earlier this year.  Over the last few months, research has also begun into the impact of cyberbullying on young people, and the impact of bullying on children with special needs.  Awareness campaigns have also been funded, to help make students aware of the effects of cyberbullying and homophobic bullying.

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: Education

Turning the page on bullying

Posted on August 20, 2013

Minister Ruairi Quinn

In January, Minister Ruairi Quinn published an Action Plan on Bullying, which set out a range of proposals designed to rid our schools of the scourge of bullying.  Since then, campaigns against homophobic bullying in schools, and highlighting the dangers of cyberbullying to teenagers, have been funded by Minister Quinn.

Building on this work, it emerged yesterday that from this September, over 1,000 Irish schoolbooks and digital publications will display anti-bullying adverts, which will offer students expert advice on what to do if they experience bullying, as well as essential helpline contact numbers. 

Following consultation between Minister Quinn and the Irish Educational Publishers’ Association (IEPA), adverts carrying these important anti-bullying messages are expected to reach 830,000 primary and secondary students by the time the campaign is fully rolled out. Covering the many platforms where bullying can take place, the adverts will discuss cyber bullying, homophobic bullying as well as wellbeing in schools.

Given average schoolbook usage, it is estimated that students will view these anti-bullying messages 20 times per day, totalling an impressive 3,500 views per year. 

With over one in four students at risk of being bullied, Minister Quinn intends these messages to spell out to students that bullying in any form will not be tolerated in our schools, and more importantly raise awareness of the help which is available to young people.

The welcome initiative is part of the €500,000 the Department of Education and Skills is spending on tackling bullying this year alone.  Later in September, new anti-bullying procedures for schools will also be implemented, including a requirement that all schools keep a formal record of bullying incidents, so they can review patterns of bullying that emerge in the school.

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Random audits to verify pay & conditions on building projects in education sector to be introduced

Posted on April 24, 2013

The Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn TD is introducing random audits on school and Department of Education funded third-level projects to verify pay and conditions compliance on those sites.

The audits are being introduced to ensure that building contractors operating legitimately are protected and those who avoid their obligations are penalised where appropriate.

“The vast majority of contractors are compliant with their obligations in terms of pay and conditions of their workers. However, given the large sums of public money involved in the capital spend of the Education sector, I want to be proactive and verify that every worker on site is receiving the pay and conditions they are due,” Minister Quinn said.

Minister Quinn’s full statement is available to read from our press centre.

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