Written Answers. - Disadvantaged Status.

Seán Crowe


147 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of the board of management, staff and parents of children attending St. Aidan's community school that the excellent care programme now in place may have to discontinue due to lack of a co-ordinator to head the care team for the course; if his Department has considered the implications this will have on one of the schools with a designated disadvantage status; and if the school's request for a co-ordinator for this course will be considered. [15140/02]

I am aware of the student at risk programme in St. Aidan's community school. This programme was funded under the fund for the development of targeted educational responses to certain children at risk in 2000. The purpose of this fund is to develop preventative and supportive programmes that are targeted at children and young people who are at risk of educational disadvantage and social exclusion. Commitments to funding under this fund are given for one year only and projects that receive funding are advised that no liabilities should be entered into which assume the availability of funding in future years.

St. Aidan's community school together with its four feeder primary schools have recently been invited to participate in the new school completion programme. The objective of the school completion programme is to provide a range of interventions in areas of disadvantage that support the retention of young people in education. The schools involved have been requested to come together with relevant local statutory, voluntary and community bodies, the city-county development board and the local drugs task force to form a local management committee and develop and submit a three-year plan to tackle early school leaving in their area. It is a matter for each local committee to identify local priorities and provide for a range of services and activities that address the education needs of children at risk in the area concerned. It is open to St. Aidan's to seek to have the student at risk programme included in the pupil retention plan for its area and funded under the school completion programme. The plan submitted will form the basis of funding allocated.