Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, has announced the extension of the deadline for schools to participate in the Summer Programme 2024.

The date is being extended from 26 April  to 17 May.

The Summer Programme provides activities over the summer months for children with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage, so that they can be supported, nurtured and encouraged in a fun and inclusive educational setting.

Around €40 million will be invested in this year’s Summer Programme.

To date 1,169 schools have registered to participate in the Summer Programme 2024, this includes 857 primary schools of which 721 have applied for the Primary School Scheme and 203 have applied for the DEIS Literacy & Numeracy Summer Camp. 

In addition, 98 post-primary schools and 47 special schools have also applied for the Summer Programme.

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Minister Foley said the deadline for the Summer Programme was being extended to encourage as many schools as is possible to get involved:

It’s incredibly important we get as many schools as is possible to participate in this year’s Summer Programme particularly children with the most complex needs.

The Summer Programme makes a real difference to children and their parents. It enhances the wellbeing and learning of children, it increases their self-confidence and broadens their friendships.

It’s also an important support for parents of children with special educational needs, for many it’s their child’s first participation in an organised summer activity.

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Minister of State Naughton said that all primary, post-primary and special education schools have an opportunity to run a programme over the summer months.

Summer provision for children and young people with special educational needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage is central to helping to ensure equity of opportunity in education, as well as the promotion of engagement in education and wellbeing.

It is widely acknowledged that interactions with peers play a pivotal role in the development of children and young people, providing a unique context in which children learn a range of critical social emotional skills.

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Last year’s Programme benefitted over 50,000 students.

Last year 886 primary schools  applied for the Primary School Scheme, compared to 721 so far this year, and 336 primary schools applied for the DEIS Literacy & Numeracy Summer Camp, compared to 203 so far this year.

In addition, 160 post-primary schools and 59 special schools applied for the Summer Programme last year, compared to 98 post-primary schools and 47 special schools so far this year.

This year, there is also a dedicated national Summer Programme co-ordinator to support schools and all schools are encouraged to pick up the phone and seek assistance.

Schools can email schoolsummerprogramme@education.gov.ie or contact the department’s helpline on 09064 84292.

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