Expert Panel To Address Persistent Educational Underachievement

On 28 July 2020, Education Minister, Peter Weir, MLA, announced the appointment of an Expert Panel, chaired by Dr Noel Purdy, to examine the links between educational underachievement and social disadvantage.

The panel has been established under the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement which set out the requirement for an expert group to examine and address links between persistent educational underachievement and socio-economic background, including the long-standing issues facing working-class, Protestant boys. 

The Terms of Reference for the review can be viewed here:

Terms of Reference

The chair and five panel members are:

  • Dr Noel Purdy, Stranmillis University College;
  • Mary Montgomery; Principal, Belfast Boys  Model School;
  • Kathleen O’Hare, retired Principal, Hazelwood Integrated College and former Principal of St Cecilia’s College;
  • Joyce Logue, Principal of Longtower Primary in Derry/Londonderry;
  • Jackie Redpath, Chief Executive, Greater Shankill Partnership and
  • Professor Feyisa Demie, Honorary Professor, Durham University.

Education Minister announces the appointment of an Expert Panel

A Fair Start – Final Report & Action Plan

The Expert Panel on educational underachievement submitted its Final Report and Action Plan - “A Fair Start” – to the Minister in May 2021. This was endorsed by the Executive on 27 May 2021.

As set-out in New Decade, New Approach and the subsequent Terms of Reference, this was an independent panel, tasked with bringing forward recommendations and a costed Action plan.

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