In early 2007 a proposal was put to the Directors of the NPCpp by one of its constituent members groups (the CSPA), that NPCpp should establish contact with all the ‘stakeholders’ in 2nd level education with a view to establishing a Forum where everyone could discuss the formation of a common education platform. The rationale being that all stakeholders had more in common in dealing and identifying with the needs of Education. For the NPCpp, in the absence of adequate funding, we needed to develop links with ‘partner’ organisations whereby we could better represent the views of parents.
In November the Post Primary Education was launched and brought together for the first time in the history of education in Ireland all the partners at 2nd level.
National Parents Council post primary – NPCpp The Joint Managerial Board – JMB The Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland – ASTI The Irish Vocational Education Association – IVEA The Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools – ACCS The National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals – NAPD The Teachers Union of Ireland – TUI
The primary objectives of the Forum were to identify a number of important education issues which would seek to :
- Offer an informed and consensus view on key issues in post-primary education.
- Heighten Government and public awareness of key issues and secure public support for high priority investment in post-primary and further education.
- Establish mutually-agreed overall approaches to policy on key issues
- Identify priority areas for development and investment in education
PPEF believed that there were many areas that would benefit from an increase in the education budget, and we identified the following equally important priority areas for significantly improved investment:
- Improvement in the pupil teacher ratio so as to reduce class sizes thereby improving the educational chances of our students and widening the scope to offer students more subject choice.
- Implementation in full, of the Report of the Task Force on Student Behaviour in Second Level Schools, 2006, to support schools and parents in fostering positive student behaviour.
- An augmented budget for Information Communications Technology (ICT) to be included in the National Development Plan. This budget must include provision for training of all teachers in the use of ICT in the classroom.
- An improvement in the allocation of teaching hours to schools for Learning Support (Remedial Education).
- Adequate resources to support students with Special Educational Needs in mainstream post-primary schools before the final rollout of the EPSEN Act.
- Strategic investment in the development of inter-cultural education in our schools.
In 2008, we set out to develop a strategy which would ‘drive’ the need for funding at a level of 7% of GDP (currently 4%), but by September 2008 the Financial Crisis hit the country, and the emphasis of the work of the Forum turned to ‘protecting’ spending on education from massive cutbacks. To an extent the work of the partners in the forum – both individually and collectively – succeeded in that the level of cutback were less than in other sectors of society. Most of 2009 was spent supporting various campaigns.
From 2010, the Forum developed a common vision for 2nd level education – Education 2020 Vision.