Méid an Téacs

New ambitious targets for Literacy and Numeracy set by Minister Bruton

Márta 15, 2017

Targeted improvements in Maths and reading for all schools – 50% of sixth class pupils to perform at the highest levels in reading and Maths by 2020

Increase by 42% the number of 6th class pupils in disadvantaged primary schools performing at the highest levels in Maths

Particular focus on numeracy and digital skills

The Minister for Education & Skills, Mr. Richard Bruton, TD, today published new, updated ambitious targets for numeracy and literacy in our schools, as part of the drive to achieve the best education service in Europe within a decade.

The Report published today shows that all of the targets set for reading and maths at primary level in the 2011 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy were reached and significant progress has been made towards achievement of the targets at post-primary. These results are confirmed by recent strong results in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) (see below).

While recent trends are encouraging, it is clear that there is still room for improvement, in particular in Maths, and the updated targets set a particular focus on numeracy. For this reason, the new targets set by Minister Bruton are particularly ambitious in the numeracy area. The Action Plan for Education, which has the overall aim of making Ireland the best education and training service in Europe within a decade, outlines a series of ambitious actions to further improve our performance in maths, including: introducing coding and computer science throughout the school curriculum; a comprehensive National Policy Statement on STEM Education in schools; and ambitious new measures to upskill maths teachers.

Minister Bruton has set out that tackling educational disadvantage will be a key priority during his Ministry. For this reason, Minister Bruton has for the first time set specific targets for literacy and numeracy within disadvantaged schools as part of this strategy. Such targets were not included in the original strategy published in 2011. For example, we have set a target to increase the number of pupils in DEIS Band 1 urban primary schools performing at the highest levels in Maths at sixth class by 2020, by 42%. This is underpinned by the publication of the DEIS Plan 2017 by the Minister, which will see €15m extra being invested to tackle educational disadvantage each year.

There will also be an increased emphasis on higher-achieving students and on embedding achievements in literacy, in particular literacy for and through the Irish language, and also on enhancing the digital literacy skills of our learners.

Priority actions included in the plan include:

  • Prioritising the development of maths curricula at primary and post-primary, including the redevelopment of the primary maths curriculum, encompassing the introduction of computational and creative thinking skills and coding.
  • The Professional Development Service for Teachers refining its literacy and numeracy supports for teachers.
  • Reviewing the time allocation for maths at primary to ensure that the allocation reflects learners’ requirements.
  • Implementation of new curricula in Irish at both primary and post-primary, which aim to improve Irish as Language 1 in Irish medium schools and Irish as Language 2 in English medium schools.
  • Supporting ECCE practitioners and teachers in Early Start centres with comprehensive implementation of the Aistear curriculum framework, in particular development of early literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Support for the transitions between educational settings, e.g. the move from early years settings to primary schools, by developing reporting templates-for use by ECCE practitioners, schools and parents-based on research and trialling.
  • Carrying out research on creative and innovative ways to support parents in their role as educators.

Minister Bruton said:

“Being able to read, write and do so effectively are key skills which every young person leaving school should have if they are to achieve their full potential.”

“While we are performing very well in reading, there is room for improvement in maths. The Action Plan for Education, which has the overall aim of making Ireland the best education service in Europe within a decade, outlines a series of ambitious actions to further improve our performance so as to significantly reduce the gap with the top European performers in maths and science in particular. We will be developing a new maths curriculum at primary, including computational thinking, creative thinking skills and coding, and reviewing the structure and time allocation of the primary maths curriculum, as a whole. We will adopt a STEM Education Policy Statement, and ambitious new measures to upskill maths teachers. The Digital Strategy for Schools and the investment of €210m over its lifetime will also be a major factor in implementing change.”

“Every child has to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of their circumstances. Education has a unique capacity to break down the cycles of disadvantage. Our recently published DEIS Plan aims to increase the outcomes for students in more disadvantaged schools. I want, for example, to see an increase of 42% in the number of pupils in disadvantaged urban primary schools performing at the highest levels in maths at sixth class by 2020.”

“The Report shows the significant progress that has been made since 2011. Everyone should be very proud of what has been achieved to date.  A huge part of this success is due to the commitment of ECCE practitioners, teachers and school leaders, parents and school managers, staff in support services of various types, teacher educators, a range of other bodies, agencies and organisations, and especially the young people who have worked so hard to enhance their literacy and numeracy skills.”

“I believe the new and updated targets set, and the actions identified within this Report will enable us to focus on achieving the best results for our learners – and ultimately ensuring that every child has the opportunity to achieve their potential in life.”



The Review, with new and updated targets, is available at:

– See more at: http://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2017-Press-Releases/PR17-03-14.html#sthash.UEtiuRiC.dpuf