Educational Underachievement - Give us your views

Closed 16 Oct 2020

Opened 14 Sep 2020


On 28 July 2020, Education Minister, Peter Weir, MLA, announced the appointment of an Expert Panel to examine the links between educational underachievement and social disadvantage.

The panel has been established under the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement which set out the requirement for an expert group “to examine and address links between persistent educational underachievement and socio-economic background..."  

The chair and five panel members are: Dr Noel Purdy, Director of Research and Scholarship, Stranmillis University College; Mary Montgomery, Principal, Belfast Boys' Model School; Kathleen O’Hare, retired Principal, Hazelwood Integrated College and former Principal of St Cecilia’s College; Joyce Logue, Principal of Longtower Primary in Derry/Londonderry; Jackie Redpath, Chief Executive, Greater Shankill Partnership and Professor Feyisa Demie, Honorary Professor, Durham University.

The key objectives of the review include the requirement to examine the links between persistent educational underachievement and socio-economic background and produce specific actions to address this particular gap.

How to respond

The Expert Panel is inviting written submissions from all interested parties who have experience of the issues associated with educational underachievement linked to socio-economic disadvantage through the supporting secretariat.

You are strongly encouraged to submit your views using this online survey.

If, for any reason, you are unable to access the survey, responses can be posted or emailed as below:

Department of Education - Tackling Educational Disadvantage Team

Rathgael House
43 Balloo Road
BT19 7PR

Any queries about the survey, or requests for alternative formats, should be directed to the postal address or email address above.

The survey will run from Monday 14 September 2020 until midnight on Friday 16 October 2020 inclusive. Please note that responses received after the deadline may not be considered.

Freedom of Information, data protection and confidentiality

All responses to this survey from organisations and individuals responding in a professional capacity may be published.  We will remove email addresses and telephone numbers from these responses; but apart from this, we may publish them in full.  Your response, and all other responses to this survey, may also be disclosed on request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).  However, any disclosures will be in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679.

If you want the information you provide to be treated as confidential, it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard it as confidential so that this may be considered should the Department receive a request for the information under the FOIA or EIR.  

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives the public a right of access to any information held by a public authority, in this case the Department of Education. This includes access to information provided in response to a call for evidence. The Department cannot automatically consider information supplied to it during a call for evidence as confidential if that information is subsequently requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, if there is a Freedom of Information request for information submitted during this survey period, the Department will consider carefully whether it should be made public, or treated confidentially. If we are asked to disclose responses under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we will take any requests for confidentiality into account. However, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

We will handle any personal data provided in accordance with current data protection legislation. For further information about confidentiality of responses, please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office or visit their website at:

What happens next

After the Consultation  

The views and comments received will be analysed and inform the development of the expert panel Action Plan


  • Parents
  • Higher education students
  • Prospective higher education students
  • School students
  • All stakeholders
  • Business
  • Voluntary and Community Sector
  • Government Department
  • Local Government
  • Statutory Body
  • Private Sector
  • Research
  • Charity, Community and Voluntary
  • Press/media
  • DOJ Staff
  • Associate Assessors
  • Inspectors
  • Pupils
  • Teachers
  • IST
  • Stakeholders
  • Schools
  • Early Years Educators
  • Pre-School Education Settings
  • Other Stakeholders


  • Higher Education
  • Primary Education
  • Post-Primary Education
  • Pre-school Education