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Welcome to MOST'S News section.

For a daily analysis of child related newspaper articles can we suggest the Barnardos link below.

National Youth Council Election Manifesto 2016  
The Daily Digest  is a compilation of articles taken directly from the online editions of the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Examiner and UK Guardian, prepared by the training and research team at Barnardos.
This Australian based ezine is a compilation of the most significant news items from the past month on issues affecting youth mainly from Australia but not exclusively . The ezine also incorporates Youth Studies Australia a quarterly journal with the latest in research and news on issues affecting young people  

Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures.

the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020
Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020 was approved by Government and launched by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, on 16 April 2014 and will run from 2014 - 2020.

Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures represents the first overarching national children’s policy framework comprehending the age ranges spanning children and young people (0 – 24 years). It adopts a whole of Government approach and will be underpinned by a number of constituent strategies in the areas of early years, youth and participation which are due for completion in 2014.

The views of a wide range of interests, including those of children and young people themselves, shaped the development of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures and it is informed by the following inputs:
  • The results of a consultation in 2011, which centred around children and young people, in which almost 67,000 people throughout the country participated. The results of the analysis of the consultation were published in November 2012;
  • A public consultation of the general public, conducted in 2012, during which over 1000 submissions were received. An analysis of the submissions was completed in April 2013; and
  • The advice of the National Children’s Advisory Council which represented a range of statutory and non-statutory organisations working with children and young people.
In summary the NPF:
  • sets out and centralises common outcomes
  • captures 163 policy commitments
  • identifies key transformational goals necessitating action
  • provides for an innovative and effective way of working.
Major Innovations of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures
  • Establish a shared set of outcomes for children and young people towards which all government departments and agencies, statutory services and the voluntary and community sectors will work, to ensure a coherent response for children and young people.
  • Identify the range of commitments in place across government and progress these based on a structured, systematic and outcomes focused approach.
  • Prioritise the key cross-cutting transformational goals under each outcome area, which requires concerted and coordinated action to ensure the realisation of the respective outcomes.
  • Emphasise an integrated and evidence informed approach to working across government, on horizontal and vertical levels, which transfers to all sectors and settings working with children and young people.
Expected ImprovementsThrough the implementation of the NPF and its supporting strategies, the Government aims to achieve the following Transformational Goals to support the achievement of better outcomes for all children and young people:•    Support Parents
Parents will experience improved support in the important task of parenting and feel more confident, informed and able.  
•    Earlier Intervention & Prevention
A key target for this goal is to lift over 70,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020. It also focuses on issues such as access to affordable early years education, childhood obesity and youth mental health. It seeks to shift the emphasis from crisis intervention to prevention and early intervention.
•    A culture that listens to, and involves children and young people
The Government will promote a culture which not only recognises, protects and fulfils the rights of children and young people but also encourages them to actively participate in Irish public life.
•    Quality services, outcomes driven, effective, efficient and trusted
Government investment in children will be evidence based and informed by national and international evidence. Services aimed at children will be obliged to prove their effectiveness and value for money. Irish education will be internationally benchmarked to ensure that children leave school with the capacity to deal with a rapidly changing world. Agencies charged with safeguarding the welfare of children will be trusted, and their contribution to improving the lives of children will be valued.
•    Effective Transitions
Transitions at key developmental stages and between child and adult services will be strengthened.  Improving young people’s employment opportunities will also be emphasised.
•    Cross Departmental and Interagency Coordination and Collaboration
The public sector will be reformed substantially, resulting in improved implementation, greater cross-Government coordination and collaboration, increased accountability and resource efficiency. The State and its partners will work better together and plan service provision in a way that is child-centred and benefits from interagency and multidisciplinary working.
Implementation InfrastructureThe key groupings involved in the implementation infrastructure of the NPF are the Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium, the Sponsors Group, the Advisory Council and the Children’s Services Committees National Steering Group together with the children and young people’s participatory structures Comhairle na nOg and the Structured Dialogue Working Group.  Participation by the latter two groupings will ensure that the voice of children and young people clearly informs the implementation of the framework.

Full Report Here

The Child and Family Agency was established on 1st January 2014 and is now the dedicated State agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. It represents the most comprehensive reform of child protection, early intervention and family support services ever undertaken in Ireland. It is an ambitious move which brings together some 4,000 staff and an operational budget of approximately €600m.





Junior Cycle

Reform of junior school cycle driven by glaring faults

Opinion: a more engaging system could improve students’ long-term prospects

Frances Ruane and Emer Smyth   Irish Times   First published: Mon, Mar 31, 2014,

‘Students’ experience of active learning methods diminishes as they approach the Junior Certificate exam.’  

Significant reform of junior cycle education is currently under way. This has been informed by research on how young people learn and on the impact of educational policies in other countries, and by evidence on what is happening now in Irish schools.
There have been many claims and counter-claims about what the Irish evidence shows. However, the only body of detailed research on Irish second-level education indicates the current junior cycle is not providing an engaging and challenging experience for young people. Their learning is often well below its potential.
The ESRI Post-Primary Longitudinal Study followed 900 students in 12 case-study schools from entry to second-level education (in 2002) to completion of the Leaving Certificate in 2007/8. The schools were selected to capture the key influences on student educational experiences: the approach to subject choice, the use of ability grouping and the provision of support to students.
The study shows that, despite the junior cycle being designed as an integrated three-year programme, young people’s experience of it is at best fragmented.
First year involves a degree of turbulence for all students as they adjust to the new school setting, to different teaching methods and the greater number of subjects.
In second year, a significant number lose focus and drift or disengage from schoolwork. Third year sees them becoming highly focused on preparing for the Junior Certificate examination, spending extra time on study and grinds, and increased class time on “practising” exam questions.

Our findings show an overall decline in the extent to which students are positive about school and their teachers as they move through junior cycle. This is especially true for working-class boys.
We are strongly of the view that this disaffection should be taken seriously, as the evidence shows it results in many leaving school early or doing poorly in the Leaving Certificate and beyond.
Second year emerges from our research as the crucial year in shaping longer-term student engagement with education. Many who struggle with schoolwork in second year find it hard to regain lost ground later on and underperform in the national exams.
Failure to stay in school to Leaving Certificate level is often found to stem from difficulties in coping with schoolwork and negative experience of teachers in this year.
So the evidence clearly shows certain groups are losing out in the current system. But is this the whole story? The findings show that all students’ education experiences are affected by the ‘high stakes’ exam focus of the current junior cycle system. Why is this?

Less ‘chalk and talk’
Junior cycle students generally prefer more autonomy in the learning process, seeing a traditional teacher-led ‘chalk and talk’ approach as less helpful to their learning. They value interaction in class, where everybody can contribute and discussions are encouraged – in other words, a learning environment that more closely mirrors what they will face in the future workplace.
However, the evidence shows their experience of these active learning methods diminishes as they approach the Junior Certificate exam. Instead, more time is spent on ‘finishing’ the course and on ‘practising previous exam papers’.
Many struggle to combine the volume of homework and study and often feel stressed about the impending exams. In effect, the presence of a ‘high stakes’ exam narrows young people’s learning experiences to preparation for the exam.
There has been a good deal of discussion about how the Junior Certificate exam prepares students for meeting the demands of senior cycle. What is notable from our study is that, even after the exam, many students struggle to cope with the more challenging schoolwork in fifth year.
This suggests the Junior Certificate examination is not playing that ‘preparation’ role successfully. Students report increasing demands between junior and senior cycles, with schoolwork becoming harder and more investment in homework required.
As a result, students become less confident about their capacity to cope with schoolwork and less positive about school in general. The study therefore raises issues concerning whether junior cycle as currently structured serves as adequate preparation for senior cycle.
A more engaging curriculum with different teaching methods has the potential to see students achieve better outcomes within and beyond school. With better educational experiences, our young people can achieve more as individuals. Collectively, our societal and economic wellbeing will be enhanced by having an education system that serves our students better than is currently the case.

Frances Ruane and Emer Smyth are director and head of social research respectively at the Economic and Social Research Institute


The new Junior Cert: what you need to know

The current system’s replacement, the Junior Cycle Student Award, or JCSA, will be rolled out subject by subject between next autumn and 2022

Irish Times Grainne FallerFirst published: Tue, Jan 21, 2014,

It’s official. The Junior Cert is soon to be no more, and the snazzy-sounding JCSA – for Junior Cycle Student Award – is poised to take its place if delays and teachers’ concerns are worked out. It’s not before time. The Junior Cert began as a radical departure that was to provide students with a richer educational experience, but the exam-based model quickly led to the programme becoming something of a mini-Leaving Cert, complete with rote learning and teaching to the test.
The model is outdated and well out of step with international best practice. In addition, we have no real information about how our children are doing in education. We participate in international testing, such as the Programme of International Student Assessment (Pisa), but apart from that the only information we have about our students is the Junior Cert, which seems to measure how well students do in the Junior Cert but little else.
The JCSA aims to change all that. The model of teaching, learning and assessment at junior level in postprimary schools is about to change considerably. The idea is that if we shift focus from what students are taught to how and what they learn, and encourage independent thinking, learning and real engagement with education, we will end up with students who are more flexible and capable of adapting to ever-changing learning environments.
The changes will be gradual – exactly how gradual remains unclear. Last Friday a meeting of the working group examining the implementation of the JCSA decided the change should be complete by 2022 rather than the original target of 2020. There is room for review after three years if it is deemed that change should be more gradual still. But essentially we’re going to end up with a system in which the Junior Cert as we know it will be no more.
For now the aim is that by 2022 there will be no major State exam. The overwhelming focus on two weeks of examinations in June will be a thing of the past. But that scenario is a number of years away.
What can 2014 entrants expect?
First-year students in September this year  will be the first to sample JCSA English. The syllabus is replaced by subject specifications that focus on what students’ should have achieved rather than on teacher-delivered content.
In common with all new subject specifications, the English course will seek to develop the key skills of literacy and – even in English – numeracy. Students will have clear goals and expectations. English has been made a little less wide-ranging, with an emphasis on active learning and new elements such as digital literacy. Students will still study novels, short stories, drama extracts, poetry and film, but the hope is that teachers will have more leeway to be adventurous and engage students. There is a suggested list of texts and some prescribed ones. Teachers may substitute their own choice of unprescribed texts.
Forty per cent of students’ English marks will be earned through school-based continuous assessment in second and third year. Students will be assessed on their oral communication as well as on a selection of texts they have produced. These could be written in the usual way, or delivered as a PowerPoint presentation, or as a website or blog. Most likely, students will present a mixture of texts for assessment. This is probably the biggest immediate change for both students and teachers.
The 2014 entrants will do all other subjects in the old Junior Cert programme. This will change in later years, as more new subject specifications are introduced. Students may be able to study short courses (see panel, below), and there will be credit for participation and achievement in school beyond exams and assessment.

How many subjects will my child do?
All students in the JCSA will study eight to 10 subjects. For students starting first year in 2014, most of these will be in the old Junior Cert programme. If a school is offering short courses a student, at the discretion of the school, may take two short courses in place of one full subject. Students will be able to swap one or two subjects for two or four short courses. So one student might study six subjects and four short courses; another might opt for nine subjects and two short courses; and a third might opt for eight subjects and no short courses



ESRI Keeping them in the Game

A new report commissioned by the Sports Council of Ireland among other insights shows that by the time students leave primary school, almost all of them have already taken up at least one sporting activity and many are doing two, three or more. What happens after they arrive at second level? . The report estimate that roughly one-in-ten active participants at primary school have dropped out of sport at first year of second level. The research suggests that the peak age of sporting activity may have moved to somewhat earlier in childhood than estimated by earlier research byLunn and Layte (2008), who based on recall data recorded a peak at around age 14. (Keeping them in the Game)










Child and Family Support Agency

Following a review of the recommendations of the Task Force, the Government has decided that from its establishment the Child and Family Support Agency will have service responsibility for:

  • Child welfare and protection services currently operated by the HSE including family support and alternative care services.
  • Child and family related services for which the HSE currently has responsibility including pre-school inspections and domestic, sexual     and gender-based violence services.
  • The Family Support Agency which currently operates as a separate body under the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and will be merged into the new Agency.
  • The National Educational Welfare Board which also currently operates as a separate body under the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and will be merged into the new Agency.
  • Community-based psychology services (this does not encompass psychologists operating within acute, disability, mental health or other specialist settings).

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Health are working jointly on an impact analysis of proposed future arrangements for the Community Psychology service as it relates to children and family services covered by the Child and Family Support Agency and to services provided by the HSE.

The establishment of the Agency will bring a dedicated focus to child protection, family support and other key children’s services for the first time in the history of the State. The Agency will be as broadly based as possible and will include services that (i) may prevent problems arising for a family in the first instance (ii) identify problems and provide supports at an early stage and (iii) assist children and families in managing serious problems requiring specialised interventions beyond their own resources.  

When established, the Agency will constitute one of the largest public agencies in the State with staff of over 4,000 employees and a budget of over €550 million. It represents one of the largest and most ambitious areas of public sector reform currently underway

City of Dublin Youth Services Board Demands Cuts of €600,000 from the Cities most Vulnerable Youths !

Responding to the news that the City of Dublin Youth Services Board this week demanded that €600,000 of cuts be imposed on youth projects covering Ballyfermot, Ballymun, Coolock/Darndale, Finglas, the North East and North West Inner Cities, staff at one of the projects SWAN youth Service said:

"These cuts and the manner in which they are being imposed are brutal. Local boards of management and staff were abruptly told this week that cuts ranging from 11% to 14% of their budgets were to be imposed. The projects were given until this Friday to say how they intend to apply these cuts.

"These projects provide vital informal education and developmental activities to thousands of young people in some of the most hard pressed working class communities in the city. If applied these cuts will result in job losses, course and activity cancellations and many young people who are considered among the most at risk being essentially cut loose from their last chance in escaping a life of no opportunity.

Three Months after Children’s Referendum Leading Youth Organisation Reveals Disadvantaged Youth Projects Cut by Four Times the Rate of Overall Government Expenditure MORE

Copy of Circular from DCYA RE Youth Aloocations 2013 Here

Shrinking Youth Services Here



The quarterly City of Dublin Youth Service Magazine YNOW in this issues among other articlesis; The challenge of change Today, and looking toward 2013, there are major transformations taking place, such as the creation of the new Education & Training Boards and other changes to FAS and Social Protection. This is happening in the backdrop of government policy and represents a major component of the public service transformation agenda. Increasingly we must provide evidence of value for the investment in youth services and prove the worth of this, using true stories and factual data.

See this and Previous isues HERE




What: A series of regional consultations with young people on how they can be more fully included in society. These consultations are part of a European wide initiative ‘Structured Dialogue’ giving young people all over Europe an opportunity to influence decisions affecting their lives. What participants say will feed into a Youth Conference being held during the Irish Presidency of the European Union in March 2013.

On the day the young people will talk about questions such as:

  • What does social inclusion means to you and other young people?

  • What young people in Ireland are most at risk of social exclusion and at what stages in their lives?

  • How can youth work and other activities that support young people play a role in promoting inclusion?

Who can attend: Any young person between 15 and 30 years of age. There will also be an opportunity for youth leaders and youth workers to share their views on the day.
Please note: Applications do not guarantee participation in the case of the events becoming over-subscribed. In this situation, participants may be selected to ensure there is a mix of young people from different regions, and within different age groups and genders.



QDOSS (Quality Development of Out of School Services) are holding a series of public consultations on the future of Out of School Services.

South Court Hotel, Limerick, Tuesday 16thOctober, 10am -1pm
Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon, Thursday 18th October, 10am-1pm
Wynnes Hotel, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 23rd October, 10am-1pm

Who should attend?
Any organisation that delivers Out-of-School services for children or that is concerned with the development of a sector for Out-of-School services in Ireland e.g., Childcare Providers; Youth Work and Development groups; Community and Voluntary Organisations; School Completion Programmes and Schools. MORE»

Atlantic Philanthropies winding up charitable operations
Atlantic Philanthropies, founded in 1982, is to complete grant-making by the end of 2016 and cease operations in 2020, its board decided at the start of July 2012.

Youth Civic Engagement check out our new section on YCE, with links to reports, sites and more MOREĽ