Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Education and Skills
571. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the steps taken by her Department following the recent publication of the out of school education provision report; the level of funding that her Department provides to this sector for each of the last five years; and if she will specifically comment on the future for the Cork Life Centre as a consequence of the report and recommendations therein. [32516/22]
The purpose of the Review of Out of School Education Provision was to inform future policy and sustainability for the sector. My Department is currently in the process of establishing a working group to progress the recommendations of the Review of Out of School Education Provision.
In 2021, both the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) and this Department increased the allocation of co-operation hours to the centre from 2,886 hours to 6,000 hours. This represents an increase of over 107% in the level of hours to the Cork Life Centre. In addition Cork Life Centre receives annual funding of €177,500 from my Department via Cork Education and Training Board.
With regard to overall funding for out of school settings, the information requested by the Deputy is not readily available in a centralised format. There are number of settings referenced in the Review of Out of School Education Provision report. Some are not funded by my Department. Some settings receive funding directly from my Department from a variety of sources (pay and non-pay), while others receive funding via Education and Training Boards. One of the tasks of the working group to be established will be to ascertain the funding currently received by settings, both directly and indirectly, with a view to understanding the funding required for such settings in order to ensure sustainability.
Amongst the recommendations of the report is that “This review finds positively on the work which is carried out in out-of-school settings and it is important to provide stability to this provision. It recommends that all settings be supported by state funding to ensure its stability. However, in order to receive funding, out-of-school settings should be required to meet set criteria in relation to the level of education provision, level of teaching, referrals process and overall governance”.
The working group will be developing a framework in this regard. It is important to point out that the report refers to out of school provision across a range of settings which differ in context, student background, governance and range of provision. My Department and the working group will be engaging with the sector generally, including the Cork Life Centre, in the context of the work which will now follow the publication of the report.