Education

A skilled economy

A summary of draft Programme for Government and related targets.

Increase the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who achieve at least five GCSEs at A*-C or equivalent including GCSEs in maths and English:

Baseline
2010-2011 31.3%  
(pupils entitled to free school meals)
Targets
2012-2013 42% 
2013-2014 45%
2014-2015 49% 

Make the Education and Skills Authority (ESA) operational in 2013:

Targets:
2012-2013: scrutiny and approval of legislation by Assembly.

2013-2014: structural, financial and other actions to establish new body.

2013-2014: single education authority established and fully functional.

The Department of Education has refused to release the total cost of the project to date but it reached £12.1 million as of 31 August 2011.


Upskill the working age population by delivering over 200,000 qualifications:

Targets

2012-2013

52,500 qualifications

2013-2014

53,000 qualifications

2014-2015

53,000 qualifications

Qualifications refer to level 2 and above qualifications from essential skills, further education, higher education and training programmes.

Improve literacy and numeracy levels among all school leavers, with additional resources targeted at areas of educational underachievement:

Targets
2012-2013: Develop proposals to significantly improve literacy levels and address multi-generational disadvantage.

2013-2014 & 2014-2015: Implement and monitor programme.


Support people (with an emphasis on young people) into employment by providing skills and training:

Targets (cumulative)

2012-2013

65,000 people

2013-2014

89,000 people

2014-2015

114,000 people

The 114,000 target includes 106,000 jobseeker’s allowance claimants finding work and 8,000 who currently receive the employment and support allowance, incapacity benefit and income support. The 25,000 new jobs target in the Programme for Government is separate, with the majority of the 114,000 expected to fill vacancies advertised through the Employment Service and other sources such as newspaper advertising and private employment agencies. 

Increase the proportion of children who reach the expected level of English:

(a)    When leaving primary school (key stage 2):

Baseline
2010-2011 82.4%  
Targets
2011-2012 83% 
2014-2015 86%
2019-2020 90%+ 

(b) by the end of key stage 3:

Baseline
2010-2011 77.3%  
Targets
2011-2012 80% 
2014-2015 82%
2019-2020 85%+

Increase uptake in economically relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) places:

Targets

2012-2013

233 additional places

2013-2014

467 additional places

2014-2015

700 additional places

Targets were revised following the Programme for Government (previously 180, 360 and 540).  Places will be located at Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Ulster and the six regional colleges. 23,930 students were enrolled in STEM courses in Northern Ireland higher education institutions in 2010-2011.

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