Notice of Motions in the name of Cllr Sinead Guckian
At the January meeting of Leitrim County Council, I will ask for the support of members in calling on ETB and the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, to intervene and address the current situation where students in Leitrim have no access to the Leaving Cert Applied Course, or a dedicated YouthReach Service, in their own county.
RESPONDING TO THE REPLY
Cllr Sinead Guckian outlined to the members that she was shocked to discover that there are no Leaving Cert Applied options available to any pupil in secondary school in the whole of county Leitrim.
“This is both strange and worrying but beyond this it is wrong, as I am aware of more than one student who not only knows that the applied leaving cert would suit them better, but they have also received professional opinion on the suitability of their academic path favouring the Leaving Cert Applied course.
She advised members that the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme(LCA)is a distinct, self-contained two-year programme aimed at preparing students for adult and working life.
-”It is designed for students who do not wish to proceed directly to third level education or for those whose needs, aspirations and aptitudes are not adequately catered for by the other Leaving Certificate course.”
-”It’s about recognising the talents of students with a strong practical and vocational emphasis.
She highlighted again to members that there is NO applied leaving cert course available in this county at the moment and as she said at the outset she was aware of more than one student who has been professionally assessed and advised that their talents are best suited to this course.
-”When I researched this issue, I noted that since 2015 Leitrim has no applied leaving cert since 2015, which is hard to believe. Even if you look to our history, we have had a long tradition of talented craftsmen and women, and the practical application of their talents. In our neighbouring counties students are sitting applied leaving Cert exams, the most recent figures available to me showed that there were 149 student in Longford, 168 students in Roscommon on the course, 511 in Mayo, 267 in Sligo 878 in Donegal. ”
“-The rights of a child’s education is protected under our Constitution and the Education Act 1998 requires the Government to make sure that everyone living in the State is guaranteed “a level and quality of education appropriate to meeting the needs and abilities of that person”. It is not acceptable that young adults in this county cannot avail of the applied leaving cert in this county. And it is not acceptable that when parents query how can they address this situation, they are told try another county and if you get a place for your child make your own way there. This is what is currently happening in our county.”
Cllr Sinead Guckian outlined that the second part of my motion, which refers to the YouthReach Programme, was also very relevant in the contest of discussing young adults and their education and training..
She highlighted that in the course of trying to resolve one young person’s access to education and training, she was advised that Leitrim did not have a dedicated Youthreach office in the county.
“YouthReach is the national program set up for early school leavers and unfortunately we don’t have that either in Leitrim, no dedicated Leitrim Youthreach.”
Youthreach is a Department of Education and Skills official education, training and work experience programme for early school leavers aged 15 – 20. It offers young people the opportunity to identify options within adult life, and provides them with opportunities to acquire certification.
YOUTHREACH is funded by the Exchequer under the National Development Plan. It is a joint programme between two Government Departments – Education & Science and Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Management is through an Inter-Departmental Committee. ”
She advised members that there are 110 Youthreach centres in Ireland and not one in Leitrim.
“Now I know from speaking with parents that their young adults talents are not being provided for in this county and our early school leavers, which logically the numbers will be increased if their talents and abilities are not being provided in secondary school, have no alternative external school programmes/courses to avail of within their own county.
-She advised members that while working with one parent, they have been offered a place in Sligo but this is not a viable option for a young person to find the means, method and practical logistics to avail of a service over a 100 kms round trip, away.
-She sought the support of members, as she outlined to them that in the current climate, where we are supposed to be so conscious of mental health issues particularly the mental health of our young people, that they too should find it astonishing that young adults are been failed with their education and training in their own county.
Cllr Guckian advised that the Programme for Government states, “we must ensure that every young person leaving school can move seamlessly to a job, training or education”.
“I am calling on the Minister for Education Richard Bruton and the Dept of Education to intervene and rectify this situation and to ensure that all students have access to the Leaving Cert Applied course, irrespective of where they live and that this county has a dedicated Youthreach service for those that have already left school early.
Cllr Sinead Guckian welcome the support of members for her motion and particularly the support of members of the ETB, who advised that while the Dept of Education secondary schools have an obligation to ensure that all pupils had access to the applied leaving course in their own county and that the ETB would also assist where required.