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O’Dowd: A world of choice now available to pupils

Pupils making Key Stage 4 and post-16 subject choices for next year should be aware of the broad range of options available to them.
Tuesday, 12 February 2013

That is the message from Education Minister, John O’Dowd, as he aims to raise awareness of the Entitlement Framework which becomes statutory in September.

The Minister said: “From September 2013, pupils from all schools and all backgrounds will have the same opportunities and an increased number of courses opened up to them. I want to ensure that all pupils, aged 14-19 years, are aware of the world of choice that is available to them.

“The Entitlement Framework enhances the ability of schools to plan and manage the offer of courses for the benefit of all pupils in the local area. Every pupil is different and choices should reflect each young person’s interests and aspirations whether that be continuing in education or moving into training and employment. I am committed to engaging with pupils and parents to generate a better understanding of the Entitlement Framework and how it will benefit them.”

Continuing the Minister said: “My Department has produced an information leaflet for parents and pupils to inform them and to encourage them to work with their school to discuss the options available to them. Pupils will soon make decisions on their subject choices and it is important that pupils and parents are fully aware of what is available, as these courses help to plan a young person’s future. There may be times when a school simply cannot offer access to the course they want, but every opportunity should be explored.”

In conclusion the Minister urged parents to watch for the information leaflet coming through from schools. He said: “Leaflets will issue to all schools within the next week and will be forwarded to parents shortly after. The information will help parents understand what choices are available to their children and where they can find additional information. I urge parents to watch out for the leaflet coming through from schools, to read it and to discuss the options with the school and their children.”

Notes to editors:

1.  From September 2013 schools will be required to provide access to at least 18 courses at Key Stage 4. This will increase to 21 courses by September 2014 and the full 24 by September 2015.

2.  Post-16 requirements will be phased in starting with 21 courses from September 2013 up to the full 27 courses by September 2015.

3.  At both Key Stage 4 and Post-16, at least one-third of all courses must be general and at least one-third applied.

4.  There are 30 Area Learning Communities established across all Board areas.

5.  All post-primary schools are members of an Area Learning Community which maximises the opportunity to meet the needs of pupils across the area.

6.  Further information on Entitlement Framework can found on the nidirect website.

7.  The Department of Education has launched a new ‘Education Works’ advertising campaign. The campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. Watch out for the ads on television, radio and outdoor locations. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit nidirect website for more information.

Watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel.

8.  View photos from the Department of Education in our Flickr collection.

9.  Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 99 715 440, and your call will be returned.