Minister Bruton Announces Grants for Schools to Support Rollout of Leaving Certificate Physical Education & Computer Science
€450,000 in grants to 104 post-primary schools to support rollout of new Leaving Certificate subjects this September
The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton announced that the 40 schools taking part in Phase 1 of the new Leaving Certificate Computer Science subject and 64 schools taking part in Phase 1 of the new Leaving Certificate Physical Education subject will receive a grant to support them in implementing the new subjects from September 2018.
Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said,
Today’s announcement underlines my commitment to the introduction of Computer Science and Physical Education as Leaving Certificate subjects.
I am keen during my time as Minister to make sure that our education system keeps pace with our changing society and the evolving needs of our economy. We know how important it is to be physically active and engage in sports, not only for our physical health but also as a means to encourage team building, develop confidence and for our mental health. The introduction of Physical Education as a full examinable Leaving Certificate subject reflects the priority this government puts on promoting healthy lifestyles and choices.
The introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject is part of our ambition to make Ireland a STEM leader among our European colleagues. The grants being issued to schools, from this September will complement other recent grants given to schools to support them in embedding digital technology in teaching and learning - €30m in ICT grants was provided to all schools recently, building on the €30m which we issued last year. We have committed to a €150m investment in ICT infrastructure over the next 3 years.
The 40 schools who will offer Computer Science for Leaving Certificate for September will each receive €3,000 towards the purchase of connector devices, totalling €120,000 in grants for these schools.
Schools offering Leaving Certificate Physical Education will receive a grant towards the purchase of digital devices for use by students in completing the course assessment components and for hardware required for central uploading of material. A grant of €350 per digital device will be payable, with one device for every two students commencing the subject in September 2018. A payment of €750 per school will be made for the uploading hardware. The total amount of grant payments for the subject will be approximately €330,000 across the 64 schools.
In addition to the above digital supports, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) has prepared a comprehensive continuous professional development (CPD) programme to support the implementation of these new Leaving Certificate subjects. The CPD programmes which commenced earlier this year and will continue over the coming two years, will support the introduction and embedding of these new subjects. The PDST also provides professional support for the school leaders of these 104 schools towards assisting them to facilitate the effective introduction and implementation of these new subjects in their schools.
The Minister said,
With these additional grants, and the comprehensive teacher professional development we are providing, the teachers and schools offering these new subjects from this September will be fully prepared to deliver these new subjects over the next two years. It is also interesting that these new subjects will be the first Leaving Certificate subjects since the introduction of Design and Communication Graphics to incorporate digital technologies into their assessment. The experience of these two new subjects will inform both the national rollout of these subjects but also, the possibility of incorporating digital technology more widely in the assessment of other subjects.
The €450,000 in grant payments are being made this year on a once-off basis to assist the Phase 1 schools’ preparations for the introduction of the new subjects from this September. Schools wishing to introduce these new subjects from September 2020 as part of their national rollout should ensure they have the required ICT equipment in time. They can in this regard deploy some of the ICT Infrastructure grants paid to schools under the Digital Strategy for Schools towards this purpose. Details on the specifications of the ICT devices required will be communicated to schools.