Thursday, February 09, 2017

Action Plan for Education 2017

Action Plan for Education 2017

The quality of an Irish education has been one of the secrets to our success in the global economy. That reality has not changed, and education is still central to our ambitions as a nation. The Action Plan for Education is based on a simple goal - to make Ireland's education and training system the best in Europe within a decade. To achieve that, we will focus on a number of key areas.


  • Every school will be required to have dedicated guidance counselling time available for students
  • A Junior Cycle Wellbeing programme will be implemented
  • 10 additional NEPS psychologists will be appointed
  • A wellbeing steering committee will be established to develop a policy statement and identify gaps in existing services, which we will then rectify

Technology in Education

  • The implementation of computer science as a leaving cert subject is being brought forward 12 months to September 2018
  • A new primary level maths curriculum will see students taught computational thinking and coding
  • A new advisory group led by industry and educational experts will be established to develop new plans for greater use of technology in education 


  • We will shortly be publishing our plan for future supports to tackle educational disadvantage
  • We will be building on existing DEIS supports, with new schools being phased into DEIS from next September
  • A School Excellence Fund will be developed and a pilot commenced, and commence pilot, initially in DEIS schools


  • 13 new apprenticeships and 2 new traineeships will be developed in 2017
  • Work experience at post primary level will be reviewed
  • Innovative responses will be developed to address skills shortages in ICT languages and biopharma
  • Quarterly meetings will be held between education and enterprise 


  • New initiatives to attract world-leading researchers to Ireland, particularly in the context of Brexit


  • We will be publishing a strong circular with an emphasis on reducing costs to parents, including school uniform costs

After School Care Provision

  • Guidelines will be published for the use of school buildings out of hours, following engagement with property owners and school authorities (e.g. to provide afterschool care provision for school age children to offer more options and flexibility to parents)


  • A new foreign languages strategy will be published to outline new languages options, with ambitious targets
  • Consideration will be given to greater use of “CLIL”, or teaching of mainstream subjects through second and third languages, as means of teaching Irish and other languages in a more effective way at primary and secondary


  • The Gaeltacht Education Strategy will be implemented, and arrangements for a Gaeltacht school recognition process will be published


  • 46 large-scale building projects will be completed
  • 6,000 additional permanent post primary places will be provided in 2017

Special Educational Needs

  • The new model for allocation of teachers in mainstream schools to support children with SEN will be introduced
  • A new Inclusion Support Service will be established
  • A comprehensive assessment of the Special Needs Assistants (SNA) scheme will be completed

Third level

  • A new higher education funding model (RGAM) will be in place for the 2018 budget
  • A policy review will be published to design and implement a multi-annual funding model involving increased Exchequer and employer contributions from 2018
  • Drafting of Higher Education Reform Bill will be finalised