Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (183)

Colm Brophy

Question:

183. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding provided in budget 2020 for the school excellence fund. [53764/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The School Excellence Fund (SEF) is an innovation of my Department which enables schools to participate in innovative programmes which are context-specific and aimed at improving learning outcomes for young people. Projects associated with the School Excellence Fund already established include ;

School Excellence Fund DEIS

SEF DEIS is designed to ensure that innovative approaches and proposals to tackle educational disadvantage are supported and rewarded. The overarching aim of the initiative is to improve learning outcomes for young people. In order to achieve improved outcomes, schools in the SEF-DEIS will be challenged to promote innovation by adopting new evidence-based approaches to tackling under-performance in literacy and in the STEM subjects or in the Arts subjects.

A total of €1.8 million is provided for innovative programmes in DEIS schools under SEF-DEIS. Tranche 1 of SEF DEIS was launched in November 2017 and Tranche 2 in April 2018. Earlier this year I launched the third Tranche and I will shortly announce the successful applications. SEF DEIS 2020 expenditure is estimated to be in the region of €450,000.

School Excellence Fund Digital and School Excellence Fund STEM

SEF Digital and SEF STEM are administered together. The Digital Strategy for Schools outlines a vision for the embedding of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment in primary and post primary schools. SEF STEM supports schools to work together on projects in accordance with the Government’s ambitious plans to promote the teaching and learning of the STEM subjects

The total funding committed in respect of the SEF Digital and SEF STEM programme for 2020 is €250,000.

School Excellence Fund – Creative Clusters

The SEF – Creative Clusters initiative launched in 2018 with an allocation of €200,000. As part of this, 23 cluster comprising of 71 schools were engaged as part of the initiative.

The funding for 2019 was extended to €400,000. This allowed those schools who engaged in the programme in 2018 to continue into a second school year, while also taking in an additional cohort of schools. A further 76 schools comprising of 21 clusters engaged with the initiative from September 2019, bringing the total schools engaged to 147.

Funding for SEF – Creative Clusters in 2020 has not yet been finalised.

School Excellence Fund – Step Up

Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) collaborates with my Department’s Inspectorate on the School Excellence Fund, Step Up Project and support for this project is drawn from many JCT teams.

The Step Up Project focuses on supporting schools to ‘step up’ in the delivery of the new junior cycle programme. Schools will work together and will be supported by the Department’s Inspectorate, which will help with planning, and the Junior Cycle for Teachers, which will provide additional teacher training. There is no financial allocation in 2020 for SEF Step Up.