Louth kids do­ing well

A NEW SUR­VEY FOUND CHIL­DREN FROM TRA­DI­TION­ALLY DIS­AD­VAN­TAGED AR­EAS IN DROGHEDA AND DUN­DALK ARE PER­FORM­ING BET­TER THAN EX­PECTED WRITES FIONA MA­GEN­NIS

Mid Louth Independent - - NEWS -

ANEW sur­vey has re­vealed that Drogheda and Dun­dalk pri­mary school chil­dren liv­ing in dis­ad­van­taged ar­eas are per­form­ing bet­ter than the na­tional av­er­age. The sur­vey was con­ducted in two sep­a­rate phases and ex­am­ined the well­be­ing of chil­dren aged 7, 10 and 12 years liv­ing in Drogheda, Dun­dalk and Clon­dalkin.

En­ti­tled ‘How Are They Do­ing? A Com­mu­nity Per­spec­tive on Child Well-Be­ing’, the re­port is the first of its kind in Ire­land and in­di­cates that chil­dren from tra­di­tion­ally dis­ad­van­taged ar­eas are per­form­ing bet­ter than ex­pected.

The chil­dren in­volved an­swered ques­tions on their well-be­ing, self-con­cept, their con­g­nitve abil­i­ties and aca­demic per­for­mance.

Par­ents and teach­ers were also quizzed about their per­spec­tive on how well th­ese chil­dren were do­ing.

Some of the key find­ings in the re­port, which will be of­fi­cially launched later this month, show that chil­dren lo­cally are per­form­ing bet­ter than the na­tional norm and are par­tic­u­larly re­silient.

The sur­vey, which was car­ried out by Clon­dalkin-based or­gan­i­sa­tion Arch­ways and com­mis­sioned by the Blue Skies Ini­tia­tive and The Ge­n­e­sis Pro­gramme in Louth, was con­ducted in two sep­a­rate phases and ex­am­ined the well-be­ing of chil­dren aged 7, 10 and 12 years liv­ing in Clon­dalkin, Drogheda and Dun­dalk.

The re­sults have been de­scribed as ‘highly un­ex­pected’ given the pre­vi­ous re­search which in­di­cates that chil­dren in marginalised com­mu­ni­ties are ex­posed to greater chal­lenges which im­pact their devel­op­ment.

Alice Malone, Qual­ity As­sur­ance Co­or­di­na­tor with The Ge­n­e­sis Pro­gramme in Louth, one of three or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved in car­ry­ing out the sur­vey, said: ‘This study is the first of its kind to be car­ried out in County Louth in which chil­dren from 14 schools from Drogheda and Dun­dalk par­tic­i­pated.

‘It gives us a great in­sight into how par­ents and teach­ers view the well-be­ing of our chil­dren.

‘More im­por­tantly, it gives chil­dren aged 7, 10 and 12 an op­por­tu­nity to have their voice heard and to tell us how they view them­selves. It is very en­cour­ag­ing to hear that the chil­dren’s sense of self is up there with chil­dren na­tion­ally and that they have high lev­els of re­silience and are do­ing well aca­dem­i­cally.’

She said the re­search chal­lenges the as­sump­tion of poor out­comes for chil­dren liv­ing in ar­eas that have been typ­i­cally iden­ti­fied as dis­ad­van­taged – with th­ese find­ings ex­pected to change the cur­rent di­a­logue around ed­u­ca­tion and well-be­ing of chil­dren in de­mo­graph­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged ar­eas.

Karen Costello, Project Co­or­di­na­tor with Blue Skies Ini­tia­tive said: ‘The re­sults of this cur­rent study show that in­vest­ment in the chil­dren of North and South­west Clon­dalkin and Louth has made a dif­fer­ence. It is vi­tal that we con­tinue to in­vest in their futures and pro­vide them with the re­sources needed to con­tinue to do well and over­come any dif­fi­cul­ties they may face.’

Other key find­ings sug­gest that there is strong pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tion be­tween the chil­dren’s sense of re­silience and per­ceived well-be­ing.

The study also in­di­cates that pre­vi­ous anal­y­sis re­gard­ing per­for­mance out­comes for chil­dren from de­mo­graph­i­cally de­prived ar­eas needs to be ex­am­ined and that fur­ther re­search is needed to ex­plore the con­tex­tual and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­tri­bu­tions which have led to lo­cal chil­dren suc­ceed­ing at a higher level than ex­pected.

The full re­port, which sur­veyed more than 850 chil­dren, will be launched in Dublin on Na­tional Chil­dren’s Day, Mon­day Novem­ber 20th.

The Ge­n­e­sis Pro­gramme is a con­sor­tium of some 50 Part­ner Or­gan­i­sa­tions who de­liver The In­cred­i­ble Years suite of pro­grammes to chil­dren, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties in Dun­dalk and Drogheda.

The con­sor­tium came through a rig­or­ous se­lec­tion process to be be­come one of 13 ABC Pro­gramme sites/ar­eas.

Mairead McGuin­ness, MEP, with Gina McIn­tyre, CEO of SEUPB and Lu­cia Car­ragher, Stu­art Quinn and Edel Healy, DkIT

Aileen O’Donoghue, Arch­ways, Mairead McGuin­ness, MEP and Hugh Doogan, The Ge­n­e­sis Pro­gramme at the launch of The Chang­ing Lives Ini­tia­tive held in The Car­rick­dale Ho­tel.

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