University College Dublin has announced a three-year intervention programme aimed at supporting senior cycle students by providing expertise and resources to several disadvantaged, or DEIS schools.
Called Power 2 Progress, the scheme will see 600 students across 15 schools receive weekly tuitions by UCD student teaches as well as providing community activities and specialised open access visits to UCD.
DEIS schools are those located in communities where the socio-economic background is below the national average.
DEIS post-primary schools make up just over 27% of all post-primary schools in Ireland and account for just under 76,000 post-primary students.
However, DEIS schools typically have lower levels of literacy, poorer attendance rates, early school leaving (especially among males) and often low expectations.
The programme, which will be supported with over €300,000 in funding from the Z Zurich Foundation, will also fund a four-year PhD student to research the impact of the three-year intervention programme and to inform future policy around addressing socio-economic disadvantage in the Irish educational system.
In a statement, Minister for Education Norma Foley TD said she welcomed the announcement of the initiative.
“As a Government we are committed to supporting DEIS schools and tackle educational disadvantage at school level.
“Every student must be given the opportunity to pursue their ambitions, and I am sure that this project will make a huge difference to students’ lives.
“I would like to thank UCD and Zurich for putting the resources in place to put this programme together and I look forward to monitoring its progress over the coming period,” she said.
The programme will be led by Judith Harford, Professor of Education, Deputy Head of the School of Education and Vice Principal for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Social Sciences and Law, UCD.