Education Minister Peter Weir said that the focus on addressing underachievement in the education sector must continue.
The Minister said that one of his key priorities has been to ensure that the education system makes a significant and positive contribution to ensuring that more of our young people fulfil their potential.
“We have a very good education system and whilst examination results continue to improve, I recognise that there is still a need to address low performance and underachievement.
“There is no single, one-size-fits-all solution to tackling underachievement. However, the evidence clearly shows that ensuring children and young people are given the opportunity to achieve to their full potential is a societal issue and we all have an important role to play.
“In pursuit of this I have engaged extensively with teachers and school leaders, parents and community groups to drive improvement. We have much to be proud of and I have ensured the wider dissemination of best practice in our education system. To that end, a conference will be held in February on tackling underachievement and will bring together all those with expertise and knowledge across the education sector.”
Outlining the initiatives that he had taken forward since becoming Education Minister, Peter Weir said that providing financial assistance to support teachers and school leaders has been one of his top priorities.
“My commitment to this was seen in the provision of an additional £14million spending power to schools in this year.
“I have provided Targeting Social Need (TSN) funding in this financial year of some £77.5million. This has been allocated directly to schools to target the learning of socially disadvantaged pupils and those at risk of educational underachievement.
“I have met community-based groups who work to support improved educational outcomes in their area. I have sought to increase engagement between schools, families and local communities and work in this area will continue to be prioritised.”
Concluding Peter Weir said that role models in our society have an important part to play in encouraging and inspiring our children and young people.
“We also need to use new technologies and social media to convey important educational messages about the value and benefits of children being read to from a young age and of continued parental involvement as their children progress through school.
“As Minister, I have enjoyed working closely with schools, early years and childcare providers, youth service and all education stakeholders. It is only by continuing to work together that we can meet the needs and nurture the aspirations of our children and young people.”
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