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Educational Disadvantage.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 27 May 2009

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Questions (176)

Róisín Shortall


208 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science if the commitment under DEIS to prioritise literacy and numeracy development at second level will be met; his views on whether the junior certificate school programme demonstration library project is an effective project in addressing the literacy needs of students in schools with the highest concentration of disadvantage; if he will confirm his intention to maintain the staffing level of JCSP librarians in each of the 30 existing libraries; if he will further confirm the commitment under DEIS to expand the JCSP demonstration library project to 50 schools; and the timescale to which he is working. [21663/09]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

Under the terms of the DEIS Action Plan, a commitment was made to extend the Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) Demonstration Library Project to the 50 School Support Programme (SSP) schools with the highest concentrations of disadvantage over the five years to 2010, with extension to further SSP schools to be considered subsequently.

To date, the Project has been extended to 20 of the targeted 50 additional SSP schools, bringing the current number of schools with a Demonstration Library to 30.

The project establishes high quality, fully stocked and equipped modern school libraries and provides each with a professional librarian. A number of studies have noted that the project is effective in addressing the literacy needs of students in schools with the highest concentration of disadvantage in particular it has been noted that reading standards, student concentration and behaviour had improved.

Library staff, like other public servants in the Education sector, other than teachers and SNAs, are subject to the public sector moratorium. The timing of any further extension of the Project to new schools will have to be considered in the context of the current public financial and numbers policy environment.