Written answers

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

School Completion Programme

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will reverse the cuts to a programme (details supplied) in view of the work carried out by them and the minimum cost involved in this organisation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57469/12]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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The School Completion Programme (SCP) aims to retain young people in the formal education system to completion of senior cycle and to improve children’s participation and attendance in school.

In 2013, funding of €26.456m has been made available by my Department to support the programme, which involves 124 projects and initiatives throughout the country.

The Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) identified the requirement for savings of 6.5% per annum over the period 2012-2014. Projects and initiatives were required to reduce their budget by 6.5% for the 12/13 school year to achieve the necessary savings in 2012.

Projects were requested to revise their plans for 2012/13 in order to achieve efficiencies and reduce costs whilst prioritising evidence based services to support children’s educational outcomes. The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB), under the remit of my Department, has provided assistance to projects through this process in accordance with its management responsibilities for the programme.

In the present challenging financial circumstances it is not feasible to alter the notified allocations to individual projects.

My Department intends to complete a review of the SCP over the course 2013. The Department will consult with individual projects and initiatives within the SCP as part of this process. This review provides the opportunity to identify best practice, to clarify roles and responsibilities and to build upon the learning and experience to date.

It is anticipated that the review will assist to identify operational efficiencies and other reforms necessary to consolidate the programme on a sustainable footing as a key component of an integrated school support service under the NEWB.

My Department and the NEWB continue to work closely with management committees, schools and local SCP coordinators to ensure available resources are targeted to deliver tailored support to meet the needs of students.


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