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
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.