Written Answers. - Breaking the Cycle Scheme.

Jack Wall


1098 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science if his Department has made an assessment of the value of breaking the cycle; the plans he has to further extend the scheme; the criteria which will qualify schools outside our capital cities for the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20569/00]

Breaking the cycle is a five year pilot project. It began in September 1996 in 33 urban and 123 rural schools that have high concentrations of pupils with characteristics that are associated with educational disadvantage and early school leaving. The programme is currently being evaluated by the Educational Research Centre. There are no plans at present to extend the scheme.

I am currently working on proposals for a major new initiative to address the needs of pupils who are encountering educational disadvantage at primary level. As a first step, all primary schools were invited to participate in a survey designed to obtain information concerning the level of educational disadvantage in each school. The outcome of the survey will facilitate the putting in place of a range of significant and specifically targeted interventions so that disadvantaged children receive the support they require to enable them succeed in school. I will make a further announcement in relation to this matter in the near future.