CORK Life Centre has described as “deeply flawed” a Department of Education report on out-of-school provision.
The study, ‘Review of Out of School Provision’, looked at the experience of children aged between 13 and 15 who leave mainstream schools for a variety of reasons.
The Life Centre, a northside education facility founded in 2000, offers one-to-one tuition up to Leaving Certificate for 55 students every year, and was one of 23 organisations which contributed to the review.
In a hard-hitting statement, the centre said the report was an attempt at “shaping the problem [of young people leaving mainstream education] to fit the system, when in fact it should be the other way around”.
The centre said the review’s recommendations focused on short-term interventions and did not cover the provision of education to children after the age of 16 or delivery of the Leaving Certificate.
“Given that Cork Life Centre [runs] a service based on long-term intervention for 12- to 18-year-olds and delivers the Leaving Certificate to approximately 12 students per annum, it seems very unclear how this review will progress proper funding of our service,” read the statement.
The centre described as “an egregious misrepresentation of material fact” a claim on page 51 of the report, that at only two of the organisations surveyed, “at least one student achieved a Leaving Certificate in each of the three years prior to the survey”.
Cork Life Centre said that in its 2018 response to the study, it had reported that in 2015, seven of its students had achieved the Leaving Certificate; in 2016, ten students did; and in 2017, 11 students did, a total of 28 students in the time-period surveyed.
The centre added that the report did not meet with commitments made by the Department of Education to the centre over the last year.
“At the very best it kicks the can further down the road,” the statement concluded.
“This is not an appropriate manner to deal with the education and lives of young people.”
A Department of Education spokesperson said the department has provided annual funding of €177,500 to Cork Life Centre and 6,000 teaching hours, and was committed to providing ongoing funding to the centre.
“The Department will continue to engage with Cork Life Centre in the context of the implementation of the recommendations of the report,” the spokesperson commented.