Department of Education wants your views on underachievement in schools

  • The Department of Education has launched a survey asking what you think can be done to address educational underachievement in Northern Ireland's schools.

    Northern Ireland is known for its high level of academic achievement and our universities attract thousands of students from around the world each year, but educational achievement isn't evenly distributed here. Recent statistics have shown that socio-economic background has a significant factor in GCSE attainment, which is split strongly along both gender and religious background.

    The highest attainment was seen in catholic girls who were not entitled to free school meals, with 76.7% acheiving at least 5 GCSEs grades A* to C compared to only 19.7% of protestant boys entitled to free school meals. These statistics showed that poorer families, boy's secondary schools, and schools in protestant areas are consistently being let down by the education system.

    A new Expert Panel on Educational Underachievement has been appointed by Education Minister Peter Weir to tackle this issue, and they want to know what you think. The panel is examining the links between persistent educational underachievement and socio-economic background, and has launched a public consultation survey.

    The survey is open from now until Friday 16 October 2020 next month, and is open to both educational professionals and members of the general public. The survey will be used to collect public views and supporting evidence, with the final report due to be published by the end of May 2021 detailing interventions that could be made.

    Education Minister Peter Weir said: “The Expert Panel on Educational Underachievement has the potential to significantly improve the outcomes for thousands of children and young people in Northern Ireland and I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say."

    Head over to to submit your views on this important issue along with any supporting evidence.

    Source: Written based on press release

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