Thursday, 7 March 2013

Questions (80)

Brendan Griffin


80. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will explore every possible funding option in 2013 for a project (details supplied) in County Kerry; if he will consider the huge social dividend derived from this very worthy project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12039/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department understands that this project is designed to provide health education and drug awareness programmes to children in primary schools. The Department of Education and Skills, through substance abuse prevention education, contributes to the overall aim of Government policy in relation to drugs, which is to provide an effective, integrated response to the problems posed by drug misuse. Substance abuse prevention education is implemented as part of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curricula. SPHE is mandatory in all primary and post-primary schools up to Junior Certificate level, and is supported by full time support services offering professional development to teachers and advice to schools. The second level support service is operated jointly with the Health Sector. SPHE is designed to help develop students' confidence and self esteem, and promote the skills for living, for responsible decision making, and for mental, physical and emotional health and wellbeing. SPHE includes substance misuse prevention education as an integral part which must be implemented by all schools.

In addition, the Framework for Junior Cycle, published in October 2012, is underpinned by 8 principles one of which is "Wellbeing", Through Wellbeing "the student experience will contribute directly to their physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing and resilience. Learning takes place in a climate focused on collective wellbeing of school, community and society". In addition the Framework contains 24 Statements of Learning which students should experience. One of these statements aims to ensure that the student "takes action to safeguard and promote his/her wellbeing and that of others". In addition, there are six key skills required for successful learning by students across the curriculum and for learning beyond school. One of the six key skills of Junior Cycle is "Staying Well". In the context of the details outlined above and the significant support which my Department in collaboration with the Department of Health gives to this area, I am not in a position to provide funding for this project.