Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (601)

Gerald Nash


601. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason for the funding reduction to the Deeside school completion programme in 2014; if he is concerned at the impact of this reduction on the service; if this decision will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24653/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The School Completion Programme (SCP) aims to retain young people in the formal education system to completion of senior cycle and to generally improve the school attendance, participation and retention of its target cohort. The SCP is a targeted intervention aimed at those school communities identified through the Department of Education and Skills’ DEIS Action Plan for Educational Inclusion. It involves 124 locally managed projects and related initiatives operating across 470 primary and 224 post-primary schools to provide targeted supports to approximately 36,000 children and young people. The programme's project model approach gives local communities the autonomy to devise innovative approaches to address the needs of young people most at risk of early school leaving. I am advised that this project has a budget of €234,798 for the 2013 / 2014 school year to provide targeted supports to students in three post-primary school and four primary schools.

As with all major spending programmes, the School Completion Programme budget was subject to examination under the terms of the 2011 Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE). This process identified a requirement for savings of 6.5% per annum across the programme over the period 2012 to 2014.

Since its establishment the Child and Family Agency has operational responsibility for the School Completion Programme, including the allocation of funds to projects within the programme. I am advised that proposals have yet to be formulated by the Agency in relation to the funding for SCP projects in the coming 2014/2015 academic year. As an initial step the Agency has invited all SCP Projects to commence planning for the next cycle of the programme within the available funding parameters. The Agency will continue to work closely with Local Management Committees, schools and local SCP co-ordinators to assist projects through this process.

The potential for any changes in the funding allocated to this programme in future years is a matter to be considered in the estimates and budgetary process having regard to the resources available to Government.