Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 12th March 2013.

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Photo of John O'Dowd John O'Dowd Sinn Féin 2:00 pm, 12th March 2013

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Chomhalta as a cheist.  My Department's policies are all directed towards educational improvement and literacy and numeracy improvement.  The Audit Office report notes that there has been improvement across the years in both areas, albeit not as quickly as we would like to see. 

The statistics show that we are progressively improving year-on-year, but, behind the statistics concerning young people who do not succeed, there are life stories, and we have to improve on those.  Even in the last report, we brought in the Achieving Belfast and Achieving Derry programmes.  We have brought in our numeracy and literacy policy, 'Count, Read: Succeed'.  There has been a specific focus on numeracy and literacy in our schools.  Through the assistance of OFMDFM, we are bringing over 200 newly qualified teachers into our schools to focus on numeracy and literacy.  Bringing more and more young people into the early years programme will help our numeracy and literacy programme to succeed.  All our policies are directed towards improving educational outcomes for all our young people.