Expert Panel on Educational Underachievement launches NI wide survey

Date published: 14 September 2020

The Expert Panel on Educational Underachievement, appointed by Education Minister Peter Weir in July, has issued a call for evidence from all interested parties through an online survey.

Expert panel on educational underachievement

The Panel, established under the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement, is examining links between persistent educational underachievement and socio-economic background.

The survey is open from Monday 14 September 2020 until midnight on Friday 16 October 2020.

The six-member Panel, which includes leading educationalists and community representatives, is calling for written views on the links between educational underachievement and social disadvantage and for supporting evidence.

Education Minister Peter Weir said: “The Expert Panel on Educational Underachievement has the potential to significantly improve the outcomes for thousands of children and young people in Northern Ireland and I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say.

“I have been involved in the issue of educational underachievement since 2012 and have been passionate about addressing this persistent problem ever since.

“I have set the Panel the ambitious timescale of producing its final report by the end of May 2021 and would urge all those invested in the outcome to contribute to that work by submitting their views and providing supporting evidence.”

Schools, families, parents, children and young people and anyone with an interest in educational underachievement and social disadvantage can contribute to the Panel’s work.

Respondents are strongly encouraged to use the online link for submission of views and evidence.

Commenting on the review, the Panel’s chair Dr Noel Purdy said:

“The scope of the Review is broad, embracing early years provision (and earlier where appropriate), primary, post-primary, as well as family, parent and community involvement.  I look forward to engaging with a very broad cross-section of our community to address what is a multi-faceted issue requiring engagement from schools, families, children and young people, and the community. To that end I strongly encourage everyone with an interest in educational underachievement to give their views and evidence.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The survey can be accessed on the DE website:
  2. The chair and five panel members are: Dr Noel Purdy, Director of Research and Scholarship, 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.
  3. The Terms of Reference for the review can be viewed here:Terms of Reference
  4. The estimated cost of panel members is around £110,000.
  5. Follow us on Twitter @Education_ni
  6. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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