Case Studies - Withdrawal classes (Ireland)
Every year a small group of students leave school without qualifications, some of them without attempting any of the State examinations. For many of these young people, their experience of school has been one of failure and alienation.
The Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) was introduced by the Department of Education and Science in September 1996 as an intervention within the Junior Certificate specifically aimed at those students who are potential early school leavers.
The Programme is designed to ensure that these young people can benefit from their time in school and enjoy the experience of improvement and success. It does this by providing a curriculum framework which will assist schools and individual teachers in adopting a student centred approach to education and in providing students with a programme to meet their individual needs.
It sets out to make the experience of school relevant and accessible to those young people who find it difficult to cope with the school system and who would benefit from support in working towards the aims of the Junior Certificate.
The JCSP approach involves:
In addition to reinforcing the general aims of the Junior Certificate, the JCSP addresses the main obstacles which hinder some young people's success in their second-level school career e.g.
The Junior Certificate School Programme provides schools and teachers with a focus for identifying and addressing these issues before they develop into major problems. It also assists teachers to take appropriate action if these are already causing young people to have difficulties with school.
Students who may be at risk can be identified at an early stage in their school careers. Schools whose staff is experienced in working with young people who have experienced failure during schooling and/or who are under-achieving have noticed that many students who fail or drop out display a combination of the following indicators:
2. Institutional implementation
The JCSP Curriculum Strategy
The Junior Certificate School Programme operates within the Junior Certificate curriculum. It follows the curriculum framework set out for the Junior Certificate, which is re-focused to cater for JCSP students.
It is an intervention into the Junior Certificate and not an alternative to it. It helps to make the curriculum accessible and relevant to young people who would benefit from a different approach to the Junior Certificate.
All JCSP students follow at least the courses leading to the Foundation Level examinations in English and Mathematics, and a suitable course in Irish. Other subjects are included in their timetable, following consultation between school authorities and parents. Most students follow a Junior Certificate programme very similar to that of their peers.
The JCSP curriculum strategy involves:
Adoption of this curriculum strategy will influence key aspects of classroom practice and, in particular, will facilitate the use of an extended range of teaching methods.
The content of the courses which JCSP students follow emphasise:
Ennis Community College - Development of withdrawal classes
In Ennis Community College and Ennis Schools Completion we adopt the JCSP programme based on local and student’s needs. In 2nd year and the start of 3rd year we reassess the students’ abilities and strengths and the students are placed in targeted JSCP class according to needs to ensure the best possible educational outcomes in the Junior Certificate.
This JCSP class consists of:
Despite this level of support some students are unable to manage even in this supported class the due to a variety of different reasons:
For these students Ennis Schools Completion Programme has put in place a withdrawal programme to ensure educational progression and attainment this programme is based on an adapted JSCP programme that consists of:
We offer this is two ways:
The decision to provide this level of support in terms of withdrawal classes is taken in consultation with:
The withdrawal classes require a significant of planning and staffing on top of a government funded JCSP initiative which is designed to cater for the most educationally disadvantaged students. But In Ennis Community College School it is imperative that students leave school with an educational qualification to break the cycle of generational drop-out and lack of educational attainment. In the 2012/2013 SCP and resource department supported the 12 student most at risk of dropping out of school through withdrawal.