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Context

Schools in Ireland have more favourable disciplinary climates in science lessons compared to other OECD countries, according to students’ reports in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, with an index of disciplinary climate of 0.09 (the OECD average index value was 0.00). However, student truancy was higher than the OECD average: 24.4% of 15-year-olds reported skipping at least one day of school in the two weeks before the PISA 2015 test, compared to the OECD average of 19.7%. Students in Ireland were more likely to report that their science teachers adapt their instructions slightly less frequently than the OECD average, with an index of adaptive instruction of -0.02 (the OECD average index value was 0.01) (OECD, 2016[1]).

The PISA 2015 index of instructional educational leadership (measuring the frequency with which principals report doing leadership activities specifically related to instruction), as reported by school leaders, was higher than the OECD average at 0.06 (the OECD average was 0.01) (OECD, 2016[1]). In 2017, teachers in Ireland had more net teaching hours for general programmes than their peers in other OECD countries. Teachers annually taught 910 hours at primary level and 722 hours at lower secondary level compared to OECD averages of 784 and 696 hours, respectively (OECD, 2018[2]). According to school principals’ self-reports in PISA 2015, schools in Ireland have higher levels of autonomy over curriculum compared to the OECD average: 84.7% of principals reported that the school has primary autonomy over curriculum compared to 73.4% on average (OECD, 2016[1]).

According to school leaders’ reports in PISA 2015, all school leaders in Ireland are expected to conduct self-evaluations of their schools (100% of students were in schools whose principals reported this, compared to the OECD average of 93.2%). They are also much more likely than their OECD peers to undergo external evaluations of their schools (95.3% of students were in schools whose principals reported this, compared to the OECD average of 74.6%). The share of students enrolled in secondary schools whose principals reported that standardised tests are used to make decisions on students’ promotion or retention was 54%, which was above the OECD average of 31%, as reported in PISA 2015 (OECD, 2016[1]).

In 2017, school autonomy levels over resource management (allocation and use of resources for teaching staff and principals) were higher than the OECD average: 50% of decisions in Ireland were taken at the school level compared to the OECD average of 29%.

Annual expenditure per student at primary level in Ireland in 2015 was USD 8 288, which was lower than the OECD average of USD 8 631. At secondary level, Ireland spent USD 10 111 per student compared to the OECD average of USD 10 010, while at tertiary level (including spending on research and development), Ireland spent USD 13 229 per student compared to the OECD average of USD 15 656. In 2015, the proportion of expenditure on education (from primary to tertiary) coming from private sources (including household expenditure, expenditure from other private entities and international sources) was lower than the OECD average at 10.3% of overall spending compared to 16.1% on average. Between 2005 and 2015, the relative proportion of public expenditure on primary to tertiary education in Ireland decreased by 2.8 percentage points compared to an OECD average decline of 1.3 percentage points. During the same period, private expenditure increased by 34.2 percentage points, compared to an OECD average increase of 10.6 percentage points (OECD, 2018[2]).

Evolution of key education policy priorities

Ireland’s key education policy priorities have evolved in the following ways over the last decade (Table 8.15).

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Table 8.15. Evolution of key education policy priorities, Ireland (2008-19)

Identified by

Selected OECD country-based work, 2008-191

Evolution of responses collected by the Education Policy Outlook, 2013-192

School improvement

N/A

For Ireland, challenges remain related to ensuring quality education systems to support school leaders and teachers in small schools, and improving schools’ capacity to raise performance and deliver quality education for all students, with a focus on diversity and students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. [2013] Most recently, Ireland reported growing challenges regarding teacher supply. [2019]

Evaluation and assessment

The OECD identified a need to improve performance indicators and include historical data. The OECD also recommended that Ireland establish a systematic and rigorous evaluation of all policies and schemes and use results to inform policy decision making. [2013]

Ireland reported the ongoing challenge of strengthening and integrating school self-evaluations, teacher appraisals and assessments in the interest of improving teaching and student outcomes. [2013]

Governance

OECD evidence underlines the need to improve the quality of higher education institutions (HEIs). [2013]

An ongoing priority is to ensure that those working at the local and school level can respond to national education objectives. [2013]

Funding

The OECD identified increased spending efficiency and improving the quality of HEIs as main policies to be addressed. More recently, the challenge of ensuring that skills gained in tertiary education can be efficiently transferred to the labour market has emerged. [2009; 2013; 2015]

As previously reported by Ireland, a challenge has been to deal with significant budget cuts in education due to the economic crisis. Ireland prioritised maximising resources to ensure budget cuts do not affect the quality and equity of education. [2013]

Notes:

1. See Annex A (OECD publications consulted).

2. See Reader’s Guide (years and methods of collection).

Institutions

Selected education policy responses

School improvement

  • DEIS Plan 2017 (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) is the Department of Education and Skills (DES) main policy initiative aimed at tackling educational disadvantage. It sets out five goals with associated targets and actions for education to become a proven pathway to create better opportunities for children and young people at the greatest risk of not reaching their potential by virtue of their socio-economic circumstances. This plan replaces the DEIS Plan for Educational Inclusion, which was launched in 2005, and focuses on addressing and prioritising the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities. DEIS Plan 2017 establishes a series of actions and provides support to assist in continuing to close the gap between DEIS and non-DEIS schools. It also includes initiatives to improve adult and family literacy. Furthermore, the home-school-community liaison scheme targets vulnerable groups and aims to improve educational outcomes by empowering a key adult in these children’s lives. As of 2019, a total of 896 schools (698 primary and 198 secondary) are involved in the initiative. The total annual spend from the Department of Education and Skills on DEIS is approximately EUR 125 million (National information reported to the OECD).

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Progress or impact: The DEIS Plan 2017 allocated more funding in order to add 79 new schools to the DEIS programme from 2017 and introduced a series of pilot projects aimed at improving results for disadvantaged students. This is supported by the School Excellence Fund for DEIS. This fund enables DEIS schools to apply for funding to implement innovative, collaborative programmes that are context-specific and aim to improve learning outcomes. DEIS Plan 2017 set specific targets to increase the levels of student retention and progression. It also ensures other policy measures have a DEIS dimension, such as prioritising DEIS school staff in certain professional development initiatives (Department of Education and Skills, 2017[320]).

The latest evaluations of the DEIS programme have found that although achievement and attainment gaps between DEIS and non-DEIS schools have generally narrowed at both primary and post-primary levels, these gaps remain significant (Weir and Kavanagh, 2018[321]) (Kavanagh, Weir and Moran, 2017[322]). At the same time, schools participating in the DEIS scheme have seen their Leaving Certificate retention rates at the post-primary level rise to 85% for those who enrolled in 2011, from a level of 68.2% for the 2001 cohort. Although the retention rate for non-DEIS schools is higher at 93.5%, the gap has narrowed from 16.8% for the 2001 cohort to 8.5% for the 2011 cohort. Rates of student absenteeism in DEIS schools have also decreased (National information reported to the OECD).

  • The Irish Teaching Council’s Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Criteria and Guidelines for Programme Providers (2011) aimed to clarify the inputs (or characteristics) of initial training programmes, the processes that student teachers should follow and the expected outputs. As of 2012/13, both a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) and a Professional Masters in Education (PME) were introduced as routes to qualification for both secondary and primary level teachers. The B.Ed (primary/post-primary) is a four-year full-time course for school leavers and mature students. Students must meet the minimum entry grade requirements in Irish, English and mathematics. The PME (primary/post-primary) is a two-year course open to candidates with at least a 2.2 award at Honours Bachelor degree level 8. The Teaching Council is responsible for the review and accreditation of ITE programmes, as well as for the registration of teachers. The Minister of Education determines the number of teacher candidates for primary level only, according to teacher supply, demand issues and available resources. Following a Review of the Structure of ITE Provision in Ireland (2012), there has been significant progress in restructuring ITE through mergers of institutions and improved collaboration.

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Progress or impact: Following a 2017 review, new priorities for the development of initial teacher education were agreed upon, including better preparation for 21st-century challenges, lifelong learning and embedding innovation, integration and improvement at every step of teacher training. Revised requirements for new post-primary teachers came into effect in 2017, to set out individual subject requirements in terms of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits and to provide greater clarity for students, registration applicants and teacher-training providers (National information reported to the OECD). However, a recent study suggests that extending the number of years of study through the B.Ed and PME has increased the costs incurred by participants and, in turn, has reduced the number of candidates (Hyland, 2018[323]).

  • In 2013, Ireland’s Teaching Council (2006) published a revised proposal on induction and probation. Based on this, the Council piloted a new, integrated professional induction framework for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in primary and post-primary education: Droichead (2013). It has been gradually introduced since 2016 and aims to reach universal coverage by 2020/21. The programme is non-evaluative and aims to provide comprehensive support for NQTs’ professional learning during their induction year. It includes both school-based and additional professional learning activities.

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Progress or impact: A 2016 review of Droichead found a high level of satisfaction regarding the effectiveness of the programme’s structured approach to mentoring, professional support and performance assessment, among the full range of actors involved (ESRI, 2016[324]). Furthermore, the programme helped to bring about a greater collaborative culture within schools and among staff (ESRI, 2016[324]). Following extensive consultation, a revised Droichead was introduced in 2017. The programme continues to be annually updated through the Droichead Quality Assurance process. An implementation plan intends to ensure that all NQTs in primary and post-primary schools pass induction based on the framework by 2020/21 (The Teaching Council, 2018[325]). The Department of Education and Skills has also committed to making the following resources available to support successful implementation: 1) four days’ release time with paid substitution to allow professional support team members to attend training; 2) a minimum of four days’ release time to facilitate schools in supporting NQTs as part of Droichead; 3) for schools with multiple NQTs, a sliding scale of school release time based on the number of NQTs; and 4) follow-up professional development opportunities (The Teaching Council, 2018[326]).

Evaluation and assessment

  • Ireland’s School Self Evaluation Guidelines for Primary Schools (2012) and the School Self Evaluation Guidelines for Post-Primary Schools (2012) introduced obligatory school self-evaluation to improve the quality of learning. The process calls for a collaborative, reflective process that focuses on teaching and learning. Based on school and education partners’ feedback, the updated School Self-Evaluation Guidelines 2016-20 advise schools to continue to: 1) focus on teaching and learning; 2) use the process to implement national initiatives; and 3) identify and work on aspects of their teaching and learning practices that require development and improvement (The Inspectorate, 2016[327]).

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Progress or impact: The first cycle of school self-evaluation was intended to explicitly support the implementation of the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. The second cycle and its revised guidelines offer schools a more systematic approach to understanding how they can improve outcomes for learners. The School Inspectorate anticipates that most primary and post-primary schools will employ the process between 2016-20 in a manner that continues to focus on quality teaching and learning for literacy and numeracy and helps schools to introduce and embed curriculum reform initiatives (The Inspectorate, 2016[327]). The Department for Education and Skills is currently processing survey feedback from school leaders, teachers, parents and boards of management on the role of self-evaluation in school improvement.

  • Ireland’s Survey on Life Skills in Primary and Post-Primary Schools (2009) gathers information on school policies and practices relating to nutrition, exercise, health, growing up, bullying and other aspects of the social, personal and health education programme. The survey is administered every three years, with subsequent rounds that took place in 2012, 2015 and 2018.

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Progress or impact: As in previous cycles, findings from the 2015 Life Skills Survey suggest schools work positively to equip students with a range of essential life skills, by integrating physical activity and healthy eating, social, personal and health education (SPHE), relationships and sexuality education (RSE), and addressing anti-bullying and substance use (Department of Education and Skills, 2017[328]). The survey design was recently reviewed, and a more streamlined survey was issued to schools at the end of 2018. In addition, the title has changed to the Well-being and Life Skills Survey 2018, given the increased emphasis on student well-being. The Department is also exploring ways in which the survey findings may support the implementation of the Well-being Policy for Schools (2018) (Department of Education and Skills, 2018[329])

  • In 2015, a broader-based assessment framework for Junior Cycle (lower secondary education) introduced both school-based and shorter exams administered by the State Exams Commission to replace the Junior Certificate examination (1992). The new framework aims to offer schools more curricular autonomy, foster innovation and independent active learning and guarantee the acquisition of key skills (literacy, numeracy, “managing myself”, staying well, communicating, being creative, working with others, and managing information and thinking) (European Commission, 2015[330]).

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Progress or impact: Implementation of the framework takes place on a subject-by-subject basis, with full implementation expected by 2019/20 (National information reported to the OECD). The first revised Junior Cycle in English started in 2014 for students completing lower secondary in 2017. In order for schools to combat curriculum overload and allocate more time for in-depth learning and key skills, schools are advised to guarantee that students do not take too many subjects (European Commission, 2015[330]). Teachers’ unions voiced opposition to the reform, yet by 2016, progress had been made following negotiations (European Commission, 2015[330]).

Additional education policies of potential interest to other countries

School improvement

  • Ireland developed a new continuous professional development framework for teachers: Cosán (2016). The Teaching Council consulted more than 3 300 teachers on the content, language and structure of an initial draft published in 2015 (The Teaching Council, 2018[331]). A second round of consultation included programme providers and other stakeholders, including 1 600 teachers. The framework, adopted in 2016, aims to promote rich and flexible learning opportunities for teachers throughout their careers.

  • Established in 2015, the Centre for School Leadership (CSL) was created as a partnership arrangement with the Irish Primary Principals Network and the National Association Principals and Deputy Principals. In the first phase (2015-18), the focus was on launching a coaching service for school principals, providing mentoring for newly appointed principals and launching a postgraduate qualification for aspiring school leaders (Fitzpatrick Associates, 2018[332]).

  • The Teacher Supply Action Plan (2018) aims, among other things, to increase the number of teacher graduates entering the profession. In relation to this, it outlines priority measures within the areas of data collection and analysis, promotion of the teaching profession, higher education policy and school-level policies. The plan is informed by a series of regional focus groups allowing principals, teachers, parents, school students and student teachers to contribute (Department of Education and Skills, 2018[333]). Associated actions for 2019 include the development of a Teacher Recruitment Portal to ease school-level recruitment and the introduction of a teacher-sharing scheme for shortage subjects such as mathematics, science and languages (Department of Education and Skills, 2019[334]). From 2019/20, two schools will be able to work together to recruit a teacher and employ the teacher for more hours than if the teacher were working in just one school. The scheme will be reviewed after the first year. A Teacher Workforce Data Model is also being developed to help facilitate future planning.

Systems

Selected education policy responses

Governance

  • Ireland’s Innovation 2020 Strategy (2015-20) aims to establish a well-functioning public research base for skills development to foster a sustainable and resilient society, promote employment and establish innovative companies for international success. A key goal is to increase total investment in research and development, led by the private sector, to 2.5% of the gross national product (GNP) (OECD/EU, 2017[335]). The strategy sets out Ireland’s vision to be a Global Innovation Leader by 2020 through prioritising public and private investment in research, development and innovation (RDI), enhancing the impact of RDI for enterprise and addressing human capital challenges (Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, 2018[336]).

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Progress or impact: The third Innovation 2020 Progress Report, prepared by the Innovation 2020 Implementation Group, outlines the advances made on delivering the 140 strategic actions for 2017. Many of these actions will be delivered throughout the Innovation 2020 Strategy and beyond. Some 108 actions have been initiated or are ongoing, 18 actions have now been completed, 9 actions are experiencing delays, and just 3 actions are yet to be initiated (Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, 2018[336]).

  • The National Access Plan (2015-19) aims to improve access to higher education and participation among students with disabilities, mature students, students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, students progressing from further education, part-time students and members of the Irish traveller community. The plan builds on the work of the 2008-13 Plan (Higher Education Authority, 2018[337]).

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Progress or impact: A recent review of access to higher education by the Department of Education and Skills found that overall access has improved from 22% to 26% for disadvantaged groups. The number of students with disabilities increased from 7% to 11% from 2012 to 2015. From 2017 to 2020, the government will make an additional investment of EUR 16.5 million for new initiatives in this area (Department of Education and Skills, 2017[338]).

  • Ireland’s Action Plan for Education (2016-19) aims to reduce the gap in system performance between Ireland and the top European performers, while also further developing literacy outcomes (Department of Education and Skills, 2017[339]). The plan sets new targets for improving student performance in basic skills. A 2016 consultation process gathered feedback to inform the development of a specific action plan for 2017. Consultation activity included an online call for submissions, input from other departments, regional fora, thematic workshops and other meetings with key stakeholders (Department of Education and Skills, 2017[340]). The Action Plan for Education (2017) set goals and targets covering all areas of the education system with regular progress reports planned. It contained over 400 actions and sub-actions to be achieved by the end of the year. This process is indicative of the strategic reform programme under way in education that emphasises the importance of critical business functions to ensure continuity and quality service for all stakeholders. A new document, the Statement of Strategy 2019-21 (Cumasú – Empowering through Learning) sets five new strategic goals: 1) shape a responsive system that meets the needs of all learners; 2) advance the progress of disadvantaged learners and those with special education needs; 3) build skills among education and training providers; 4) intensify relationships between education and the wider community; and 5) deliver strategic direction in partnership with key stakeholders (Department of Education and Skills, 2019[341]).

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Progress or impact: For the 2016 plan, the action completion rate was 82%. This included a major increase in the number of inspections in early years settings; publication of the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2016; commencement of the Fitness to Teach provisions of the Teaching Council Act; launch of the new Junior Cycle Business Studies and Science subject specifications; publication of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-22; allocation of funding for an additional 430 resource teachers; funding and launch of the Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH); and the launch of the International Education Strategy (Department of Education and Skills, 2017[340]). The actions completion rate for 2017 was 86% (Department of Education and Skills, 2018[342]). However, according to further evidence, concerns have been raised about a lack of implementation mechanisms (European Union, 2017[343]).

Funding

  • Ireland’s Higher Education Authority (HEA) has been introducing performance budgeting since 2013. The first System Performance Framework (2014), which was part of the National Strategy for Higher Education, introduced a strategic dialogue process between HEIs and the HEA by which a performance compact is produced. This ensures that HEIs engage with national strategic objectives while maintaining institutional autonomy. Accountability has also been strengthened: the HEA has a monitoring role across the system, HEIs must produce annual compliance statements and progress is ongoing through strategic dialogue. (Higher Education Authority, 2017[344]). The 2017 OECD and EU Country Review of Entrepreneurship in Higher Education fed into the development of a new System Performance Framework for higher education (2017-21) with a stronger focus on research, development and innovation.

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Progress or impact: By 2017, the Higher Education Authority finished the compact-agreement phase and two reviews of progress cycles. Though the HEA had expected resistance, a great number of HEIs had set very ambitious goals by 2017, despite a decline in funding and growing student numbers. However, it was found that some HEIs did not have clear strategic planning processes to meet the new expectations. Furthermore, many HEIs under-performed in priority setting. A major challenge lay in having specific priorities set at the system level, while at the same time ensuring that multiple sets of responses could be taken to implement these priorities. Despite these ongoing challenges, only three institutions did not fulfil the goals and so had their funding held back. All three then secured funding after revising and resubmitting the compact (Higher Education Authority, 2017[344]).

  • In 2011, Ireland introduced reforms that aimed to ensure more adequate funding of higher education. This included a gradual increase in students’ tuition fees between 2011 and 2015. A means-tested grant and a new scholarship scheme were also introduced to temper the effect of tuition fee increases on disadvantaged students. Following cuts to tertiary-level funding during the economic downturn, Ireland has aimed to re-invest in higher education, for example, through a close to 25% increase in current spending (EUR 350 million) since 2015. Under the Human Capital Initiative (2019), the Government of Ireland has committed to a five-year programme of increased investment amounting to EUR 300 million, starting in 2020.

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Progress or impact: In 2011/12, a new student contribution of EUR 2 000 replaced the previous Student Services Charge of EUR 1 500 at tertiary level. This increased by EUR 250 each subsequent year, until 2015 when it reached the current level (EUR 3 000). As of 2013, students were eligible for a full grant to meet this cost depending on the level of their income (OECD, 2013[345]).

  • Through Ireland’s Third-Level Bursary Scheme (2012) the highest-performing students in the School Leaving Certificate who come from DEIS schools are entitled to student grants towards the cost of maintenance and tuition fees (if applicable). Bursary payments occur annually throughout the undergraduate course and for up to four years of postgraduate study (Department of Education and Skills, 2018[346]). The total annual financial allocation for each student is EUR 2 000.

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Progress or impact: Some 101 students obtained bursaries under the Third-Level Bursary Scheme in 2016/17 (European Commission, 2016[347]). As of 2018, a subsidiary scheme, the Ernest Walton STEM Bursary provides at least eight scholarships at the regional level to students from DEIS schools who pursue tertiary science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.

  • In Ireland, an Expert Group on Future Funding (2014) investigated options for a more sustainable funding model for higher education. In 2016, the group published recommendations, which are currently being considered by a Committee of Parliament. Also in 2016, the government published an options paper on a strategy for funding higher education. The report is now before the Parliament’s Committee on Education and Skills. Additionally, an independent expert panel reviewed the funding allocation model to ensure that the model is fit for purpose, supports institutional sustainability and aligns with government priorities, while respecting institutional autonomy. A consultation is also underway with employers on an Exchequer–Employer Investment Mechanism and proposals considered as part of the 2018 budget.

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Progress or impact: In order to build political consensus regarding a future approach to funding higher education, the Expert Group on Future Funding’s report was sent to the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills for consideration. The committee requested that the Department of Education and Skills undertake an economic examination of the three policy options proposed by the expert group to assist the committee in forming its decision. At the end of 2018, DES applied to the European Commission Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) to carry out the economic analysis. Future funding for higher education is on the agenda, and a new higher education reform was tabled at the start of 2018. The DES published both the Review of the Allocation Model for Funding Higher Education Institutions and the Higher Education System Performance Framework for 2018-20, paving the way for a new agenda and more efficient and transparent use of funding (European Commission, 2018[348]). As part of the modernisation and reform of higher education funding, a new Innovation and Transformation Fund (2018) rewards institutions that collaborate and innovate using flexible approaches to learning and attracting new students. Following the first round, 22 projects across 23 institutions have been awarded a total of EUR 23 million to carry out their proposals, which vary from digital learning initiatives to supporting student mental health and better preparing students for the transition to employment (Department of Education and Skills, 2019[349]).

  • In Ireland, the School Building Programme (2016-21) provides EUR 2.8 billion for 310 separate school-building projects that will cater to over 60 000 additional students in the system. This is the follow-up to the Capital Investment Programme (2012-17), which provided 275 new major building projects. The government offered financial aid to over a third of all schools that rent prefabricated buildings (almost 200 schools) to build permanent accommodations.

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Progress or impact: In response to rapidly changing demographics and skills availability, the Department of Education and Skills has committed to significant increases in capital spending. The focus is on large-scale projects and additional accommodations, but funding is also being sought for an expanded summer works scheme and an annual minor works grant. To deliver an integrated system of education and training and address the skills deficit, DES has proposed establishing a dedicated capital budget for further education. Regarding the research sector, DES identified priorities that recognise the importance of supporting the full continuum of research, from frontier research to the creation and development of research-informed products, processes and services. An infrastructure capacity and demand analysis on education found that investment in education infrastructure was at EUR 700 million in 2017, which is 71% above 2012 investments. The Capital Plan (2016-21) allocates EUR 3.8 billion to the education sector (IGEES, 2017[350]).

Additional education policies of potential interest to other countries

Governance

  • In 2018, Ireland launched First 5, the Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, the first ever cross-departmental strategy for the youngest members of society. The strategy adopts a genuinely holistic approach, attending to all domains of young children’s worlds and the connections between them, including families, communities, health services, and early learning and care (ELC), among others (Government of Ireland, 2019[351]). These reforms are to be underpinned by a governance structure at national and local level and at least a doubling in public investment in ELC by 2028.

  • In Ireland, a new area of learning dedicated to well-being launched in 2017 across the full lower secondary cycle. The programme initially has a total allocated teaching time of 300 hours with the aim to extend to 400 hours by 2020 (NCCA, 2015[352]).

Funding

  • The Childcare Support Act (2018) provides the legislative framework for the launch of the new Affordable Childcare Scheme (2019). This scheme aims to integrate all existing programmes offering financial support for childcare into one streamlined service, in order to increase affordability and accessibility to childcare. The scheme also increased the maximum net income threshold to EUR 60 000 per annum, which is expected to result in an extra 7 500 children benefitting from support. A further 40 000 children will see an increase in the subsidies they receive. Under the 2019 budget, childcare providers were set to benefit from an increase by nearly 8% in their Programme Support Payment in recognition of the administrative support they provide in delivering this scheme (Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 2018[353]).

More information is available at http://www.oecd.org/education/policyoutlook.htm.

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