We welcome the recent announcement of the €40 million Summer Education Programme. The programme, announced by the Minister for Education, Norma Foley; and the Minister of State for Special Education, Josepha Madigan, aims to support pupils to re-engage with education, to build their confidence and increase their motivation, promote wellbeing and for some who are at key transition stages, help to ensure they can move on to their planned educational placement next September along with their peers.
All schools (primary and post-primary) will once again be encouraged to provide summer programmes. A key objective of this year’s scheme is to increase the number of schools offering the summer programme to their students. Officials from the Department of Education are continuing to engage with management bodies of schools and with teacher unions to encourage uptake of the scheme.
Many of the barriers schools experienced in previous years have been removed this year. Steps have been taken to afford schools as much flexibility as possible and to ease administrative requirements. This year, there is provision to recruit newly qualified teachers graduating this summer as well as undergraduate student teachers who have registered with the Teaching Council under Route 5. A home-based summer programme will continue to be available for children with complex needs where their schools are not providing a school-based programme.
While this is a very important initiative for our members over the summer months, we are aware that not all of our members will be in a position to participate, unless a school-based option is available for them. Some parents have highlighted that home-based programmes will not benefit their children, citing a need for the consistency of the school-based environment and outlining issues for children coping with a stranger in their home.
We will continue to engage with the Department of Education officials and, as always, we will update you on our website, our social media and in our Digest.
This announcement helps to give clarity to all of our members about the provision of additional support for their children over the summer months. We look forward to receiving further details on accessing the programme which will be made available over the coming period at www.gov.ie.