08 June, 2021 – Ministers Foley and Madigan launch Department of Education Statement of Strategy 2021-2023

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister of State for Special Education and Social Inclusion Josepha Madigan TD today published the Department of Education’s Statement of Strategy, covering the period 2021-2023.

Minister Foley said: “I am very pleased to be launching this Strategy Statement which sets out the vision and mission for my Department and the education system for the next three years.  My vision is to see a system where every child and young person feels valued and is actively supported and nurtured to reach their full potential. 

“Schools play an enormous role in nurturing and supporting our children and young people.  I am committed to having a system that provides high quality education and ensures equity of opportunity. My Department will be working with the education partners to provide strategic leadership and support for the delivery of a high quality education to all our pupils. 

“This Strategy Statement sets out high level goals and the strategic actions which will be progressed in order to achieve those goals over the period until 2023.

“The experience of Covid-19 has highlighted how important schools are for our children and the important role that they will play in addressing the impact of Covid-19 on children’s education.”

Minister Madigan said: “As the first Minister with particular responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion, I am very pleased to see the central emphasis given in this Strategy Statement to the importance of equity of opportunity for all pupils reflecting my previously-announced action priorities in this area. We are striving to build an education system with inclusiveness at its heart, in collaboration with all stakeholders and partners in education. Our schools should rightly be welcoming places for students of all abilities and backgrounds, giving every student the opportunity to learn from the experience of others and to reach their full potential alongside their peers.

“Supporting special education and inclusion is at the heart of this statement of strategy, with relevant action points in every area. From enhancing special education supports in mainstream schools, reinforcing our special schools, improved training, targeted interventions, legislative reform, and strengthening a culture of inclusion, particularly for students facing disadvantage, I am pleased that the Department of Education is dedicated to the fundamental principal of appropriate education for all. I look forward to working with all our partners to ensure these actions are implemented.

“Covid-19 has thrown up many challenges and continues to do so. The impact on students, staff, and families cannot be forgotten, and they must rightly be our priorities. Supporting the needs of children with special needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage and exclusion must be at the heart of what we achieve through education.  I look forward to working in the coming years to increasing the supports for children according to their needs.”

The strategy statement is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/56137-department-of-education-statement-of-strategy-2021-2023/

Government Departments are required to prepare a new strategy statement upon the appointment of a new Minister. 

Notes for Editors

The Statement of Strategy sets out the vision, mission and strategic goals that will guide the Department’s work programme in the three-year period 2021-2023. 

The vision is:

“An education system where every child and young person feels valued and is actively supported and nurtured to reach their full potential.”

The mission statement is

To facilitate children and young people, through learning, to achieve their full potential and contribute to Ireland’s social, economic and cultural development.

In order to achieve this vision and mission, the Statement of Strategy sets out three high level goals;

Goal 1:      Support the provision of high-quality education and improve the learning experience to meet the needs of all students, in schools and early years settings

Goal 2:      Ensure equity of opportunity in education and that all students are supported to fulfil their potential

Goal 3:      Together with our partners, provide strategic leadership and support for the delivery of the right systems and infrastructure for the sector

These three high level goals are underpinned by a range of strategic actions. 

These take account of the challenges facing the system at present. Chief among these is the impact that Covid-19 has had, and will continue to have, on teaching and learning in schools across the system. 

They also take account of the political, economic and societal context in which schools and the education system operate and the importance of education as a basic human right under international law. 

The role of the education system in contributing to the achievement of whole of Government targets, such as climate change and tackling social disadvantage is also recognised and there is a commitment to working together with other Government Departments to achieve these. 

Some of the key strategic actions are highlighted below:

  • support school communities through and post Covid-19 especially those students at risk of educational disadvantage;

 

  • develop and support the education workforce through CPD, including in the area of special education;

 

  • Strengthen the learning experience and embed the new primary curriculum, the Junior Cycle and advance Senior Cycle reform;

 

  • support the furtherance of inclusive environments in our schools and education centres;

 

  • ensure that key transition points are effective and support the best learning outcomes for all students, as they move through education;

 

  • support Irish language learning, extend Irish-medium provision and implement the Gaeltacht education policy;

 

  • Promote extracurricular activities within school and work towards a policy paper on this issue;

 

  • support the mental health and wellbeing of students;

 

  • support the participation and progression of students with special educational needs in mainstream and special schools through the delivery of integrated resources;

 

  • increase the development of special class places for students with additional needs in new and existing mainstream schools;

 

  • help students at risk of educational disadvantage to access appropriate education resources;

 

  • address the retention and achievement gap between Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) and non-DEIS schools through the DEIS programme;

 

  • increase the diversity of school type;

 

  • support the delivery of an extensive schools’ infrastructure programme, which incorporates best practice in climate action measures and provides a place for every student. 

Action Plan for Education

Work is ongoing in the Department on the development of an Action Plan for Education.  This will further elaborate on and develop the strategic actions set out above with more detailed priorities to be delivered in the short term. This will allow progress towards the achievement of the Department’s goals to be monitored