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Minister needs to introduce primary school pupils database - Crowe

27 May, 2006

Speaking in Dublin earlier today Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Seán Crowe voiced his concern at the estimated number of students who fail to make the transition from primary to secondary school each year.

"Department of Education and Science research suggests that 1,000 pupils fail to make the transition from primary to secondary school each year. Due to the lack of a primary school pupils database, the government have no way of tracking this situation and in most cases vulnerable kids fall out of the school system.

"Despite such a database having been recommended by the Educational Disadvantage Committee and Children's charity Barnardos, the government have failed to introduce one. While a secondary school pupil database is currently in operation, there is no tracking of pupils making the transition to secondary school.

"Pupils in RAPID areas, that is areas of high disadvantage, including part of my own constituency, are clearly over-represented in the amount of pupils failing to make the transition in question. The effect of pupils dropping out of the education system will not only cost the child by hampering their future, but will also affect the larger community and society in general if these pupils resort to anti-social behaviour as a means of filling the vacuum left by leaving school. It is extremely unsatisfactory that up to 80% of 12 to 15 year old children from the Travelling community do not attend post-primary schools. This is a continuing trend that needs to be addressed.

"The Minister needs to introduce a primary school database and ensure all schoolchildren make the important transition into secondary school and to make sure that no child is left behind." ENDS

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