Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD & Education Minister Norma Foley TD announce successful projects under the Shared Island-SCoTENS research partnership

Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and Minister for Education Norma Foley TD have announced two successful projects awarded funding under the partnership between the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach and the Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (SCoTENS).

A call for research on the theme of “Enhancing educational attainment: sharing experience and learning on a shared island” was issued earlier this year with funding of up to €25,000 per project available. Projects are North-South research partnerships, with contributions from international experts, which will conduct action-based research on tackling educational underachievement.

The first two projects which have been awarded funding are:

  • “BUDDIES” – led by Dr Glenda Walsh, Stranmillis University College, Belfast, in collaboration with Dr Seaneen Sloan, University College Dublin and Clíodhna Martin, Marino Institute of Education, Dublin. Building on discussions of the role of Home-School Community Liaison at the Shared Island Dialogue on education, this study will seek to gain a clearer understanding of the valuable but under-researched work of HSCLs across the island.
  • “SHARED” – led by Dr Melanie Ní Dhuinn and Dr. Julie Uí Choistealbha from Marino Institute of Education, Dublin, in collaboration with Julie Hamilton, from St. Mary’s University College, Belfast. This project explores how teacher educators can prepare and support student teachers to negotiate and engage with the challenges of educational underachievement while on their school placement.

The project teams will publish their reports in October 2022, and their findings will contribute to enhanced understanding and professional and policy development, on a shared island basis, and internationally.

Welcoming the awards, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said, “I am very happy to be announcing the successful projects awarded funding under this partnership between the Shared Island unit in my Department and the Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (SCoTENS).  Tackling educational underachievement is a core priority of mine and this Government.  Through collaborative North/South projects such as this we can learn lessons about how to enhance supports for children at risk of educational underachievement, and improve the outcomes and quality of life for children and young people right across this island.  I would like to wish the researchers well as they begin their work and I look forward to reading their findings next year.”

Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD added, “I would like to congratulate these first awardees under the Shared Island SCoTENS research programme.

“I am confident that these two research projects will add significantly to teacher education practice, and to the scope for deeper cooperation at a policy level on the island. I wish both of the research teams the very best as they start their work, and look forward to seeing the results.”

A second funding call under the Shared Island-SCoTENS research partnership on the theme, “How we teach: acknowledging, understanding and learning with others and from others on a shared island” is open for applications, with research to be undertaken in 2022-2023.  More information is available here.

Co-chairs of SCoTENS, Dr Maria Campbell and Dr Gabrielle Nig Uidhir added, “This partnership on the Shared Island SCoTENS research initiative is a reflection of common aspirations to enhance cooperation, connections and mutual understanding. It has enabled the expansion of SCoTENS’ support for North-South collaborative research, and we are particularly pleased that it builds in opportunities for leading international experts on teacher education to collaborate on the research, for the mutual benefit of all involved.

“The members of our SCoTENS network have such a wealth and breadth of expertise on teacher education, and this research partnership is harnessing that expertise to explore how best to tackle educational underachievement and to share learnings on the important ways in which educators can have a positive impact on enhancing students’ educational attainment.”

“These two important research projects addressing educational underachievement have the potential to inform policy and practice for both pre-service and in-service teacher education on the island and beyond, and we look forward to seeing the results of their work ”.

The two projects for the Shared Island SCoTENS research initiative were funded by the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach.