The vast majority of young people in Ireland enjoy learning, with 92% completing second-level education and over 60% going on to third-level education. However, there are also some stark statistics – only 13% of young people in the Traveller community complete the Leaving Certificate. Children and young people with special needs, those whose first language is not English and those who have experienced social exclusion need additional supports to achieve their learning potential. Learning starts from birth and goes beyond formal schooling and should encourage creativity and lifelong learning. Engagement in education is a significant protective factor against negative outcomes.
The aims are to ensure that all children get the best foundation in learning and development, have social and emotional wellbeing, and are engaged in and achieving in education.
The Government recognises that children born with, or who later develop, poor health must be supported to achieve the highest attainable standard of health possible and that poverty, social exclusion, substandard housing and membership of a minority group may significantly impact on a person’s health outcomes. In addition, attaining good mental health may be hindered by traumatic life experiences or personal stress.
The aims are that all children and young people are physically healthy and able to make positive health choices, have good mental health, have a positive and respectful approach to relationships and sexual health, and that their lives are enriched through the enjoyment of play, recreation, sports, arts, culture and nature.