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Ruane establishes Literacy and Numeracy Taskforce

14 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has announced the establishment of a Taskforce to ensure children and young people have the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to succeed in life.

The Taskforce has been set up to address the numbers of young people, particularly from socially deprived areas, who are left disadvantaged in both education and the labour markets after leaving school with insufficient qualifications and skills.

The Minister said

"For all young people to reach their full potential we must ensure that they leave school with an acceptable level of literacy and numeracy, which at present is not the case for far too many.

"This Taskforce has been established in order to address this worrying trend and ensure all our children, regardless of their background, are provided with the same opportunity to succeed.

"The Taskforce will primarily focus on finalising a revised literacy and numeracy strategy. This strategy will complement existing educational policy such as the revised curriculum and, in particular, the new school improvement policy Every School a Good School, which has been published for consultation."

The Taskforce will be chaired by Robert Salisbury who has vast experience in the field of education as a former Headteacher of a school facing challenging circumstances and his involvement in leadership training.


1. The Westminster Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published its report into literacy and numeracy in the north of Ireland in November 2006. A copy of the report can be accessed at

2. Government's response to the criticisms raised by the PAC was published in February 2007. One of the actions which the Department of Education agreed as part of its response was to establish a Literacy and Numeracy Taskforce. A copy of the response can be accessed

3. Members of the Taskforce are:

  • Robert Salisbury - Chair
  • Maureen Smyth, Principal, Cumber Claudy Primary School
  • Andy McMorran, Principal, Ashfield Boys' High School
  • Anne Moran, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ulster
  • Dr Robbie McVeigh, Community Activist, Board of Governors Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir
  • Dr Eemer Eivers, St Patrick's College, Dublin
  • Máire McGinn, Dean Brian Maguirc College Carrickmore

The Departments of Education, Employment and Learning and Social Development will have observer status on the Taskforce.

4. The life of the Taskforce will be two years after which the role of the Taskforce will be reviewed.

5. The Taskforce will report annually to the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education and a report will be published annually on the Department of Education website.

6. The 'Every School a Good School' document and consultation response can be downloaded from

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