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Minister Bruton announces launch of School Excellence Fund – Step Up Project – Department of Education and Skills

Nine schools from across the country have been chosen to participate in the school improvement programme. St Louis was chosen as a reult of its effective practice in the delivery of the New Junior Cycle programme. 

Department Press Release: 

“The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D.,  announced the launch of the School Excellence Fund – Step Up Project last Friday in Athlone.

Nine schools from across the country are participating in the initial pilot phase taking place over the coming school year.

The Step Up Project focuses on supporting schools to ‘step up’ in the delivery of the new junior cycle programme. Schools will work together and will be supported by the Inspectorate, who will help with planning and the JCT, who will provide additional teacher training.

The School Excellence Fund approach, which focuses on encouraging local collaboration and innovation, is key to delivering on the governments overall ambition to making Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.

Teachers from each school participated in an opening seminar in Athlone last Friday, where they met with members of JCT and the Inspectorate to refine their Step Up Project plan for the year ahead.

Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said, “The opportunity provided by the Step Up Project will empower participating schools to move to highly effective practice in their implementation of the Framework for Junior Cycle. In this way, they will impact positively on student learning and their experience will be used to support other schools as they engage in Junior Cycle reform. I welcome the collaboration of the Inspectorate and Junior Cycle for Teachers in facilitating appropriate and effective professional learning for the schools in this initial stage of the project”.

It is timely that an opportunity be provided for schools to reflect on teaching, learning, assessment and reporting in these three subject areas and to identify how the quality of provision and implementation, both for those specific subjects and for the overall Framework for Junior Cycle, can be raised to the highest level.

Schools participating in the project are required to take a school self-evaluation approach in reviewing their current implementation of the Framework in one or more of three subject areas: English, Business Studies and Science. Schools will be encouraged to identify areas for improvement and will be supported in developing and implementing actions leading to improvement in their chosen areas. Learning from the project will be disseminated to all schools.”

Deputy Principal Mary Gilmore who attended last week’s event along with staff members Róisín Mallon and Anne Marie Kirk is delighted that we have been chosen to participate in the project. “This is a wonderful endorsement of the whole school’s engagement with the New Junior Cycle programme. We are delighted to be given the opportunity to work with the inspectorate to ensure the learning experience for St Louis girls is of the highest calibre.”

Pictured below are: AnneMarie Kirk, Science teacher St Louis Dundalk, Dr David King, JCT, Róisín Mallon, Business teacher St Louis Dundalk, Sinéad Tuphy, Co-ordinator of Step Up Project JCT, Mary Gilmore, Deputy Principal St Louis Dundalk, Eoghan Evesson, Deputy Director JCT, and Emma Gallagher, JCT.