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Written Answers - Anti-Poverty Strategy

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 45.  Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  if he will respond to claims by the Irish National Teacher’s Organisation that on average, five children in a primary classroom are at risk of poverty; that in terms of poverty, children are the most exposed age group in modern Ireland with a consistent poverty rate of 8.1% meaning more than two primary school pupils in every Irish classroom are living in constant poverty; and the measures he plans to implement in order to address this issue. [19513/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Programme for Government contains a specific commitment to achieving the targets as set out in the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 to reduce the number of people experiencing poverty.

Plans to tackle child poverty are outlined in the national Action Plan and the Government is committed to achieving these targets. These targets are currently being reviewed to ensure that they continue to be appropriate and achievable.

My colleague the Minister for Social Protection is responsible for developing, co-ordinating and monitoring the National Action Plan which has a specific remit to monitor poverty trends, including progress on national poverty targets, and to analyse the impact policies on poverty [155]and social exclusion. My Department will continue to work with the Department of Social Protection and other Departments to meet the educational objectives under the Plan.

The education system operates in a context of broader social and economic circumstances. Poverty is one of wide range of issues which impacts on the learning capacity of pupils and which requires interventions from a number of Government Departments and agencies. My Department has adopted a leading role in influencing interventions to help pupils obtain the maximum benefit from education provision. The targeting of resources in schools with the most concentrated levels of educational disadvantage remains a key priority for my Department. DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the Action Plan for Educational Disadvantage, was launched in May 2005 and remains the Department of Education and Skills policy instrument to address educational disadvantage. DEIS focuses on addressing and prioritising the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities, from pre-school through second-level education (3 to 18 years).

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