Fianna Fáil Education Policy Conference in Galway
Fianna Fáil is holding a national conference on education policy in Galway this weekend. The conference, Developing a Policy Agenda, begins at the Galway Bay Hotel at 11am in Salthill on Saturday June 23.
The conference will be hosted by Education spokespeople Brendan Smith TD and Senator Avril Power, spokesperson on Children, Charlie McConalogue TD and Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív.
The guest speakers include Caroline McGuigan CEO of Suicide or Survive, Ciairín De Buis director of Start Strong, Avril Sweeney of the Donegal Childcare Committee, Sean Cottrell director of the Irish Primary Principals Network and Tom Byrne principal of Partry National School, Co Mayo.
The conference sets out to debate three important areas within Ireland’s education sector: mental health issues facing students; early education and childcare and protecting small schools, with a view to formulating policy solutions.
Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Deputy Calleary said the conference, entitled Developing a Policy Agenda, will focus on tackling mental health issues among children and young adults, developing quality early education and childcare and protecting small rural schools.
Tom Byrne, Principal of Partry National School, Co Mayo, will discuss the impact of cuts to small schools and the need to ensure we have strong small schools in communities in Mayo and across the country.
Deputy Calleary added: “Protecting investment in education and providing equal access to quality education for all citizens is a top priority for Fianna Fáil. This conference will focus on how best we can address the needs of our young people, the needs of young families and the needs of our communities in Mayo and across the country, as we work to restore growth.
“This conference will bring together experts in the areas of early education and childcare, mental health and primary education. We will debate proposals on achieving more affordable childcare for families and equal access to early education. Delegates will also discuss the increasing prevalence of mental health problems among children of all ages and how our education system can address these issues. We will debate the threats to the future of small rural schools in parts of the country, including in Mayo, and how the system can ensure strong small schools that remain at the heart of their communities.
“Each of the issues up for discussion at Saturday’s conference affects families and communities across the West. People are worried about the future of our small schools and they know that this Government’s current policy will lead to forced amalgamations of small schools in Mayo.
“This conference is about figuring out a better way to do things. Fianna Fáil believes that educational advancement must be at the heart of Government policy if we are to restore growth and give our children a bright future at home in Ireland,” said Deputy Calleary.