STAR Tuam is a pilot project that is a joint initiative of the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Justice and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. This pilot project is one of many initiatives that has developed from the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTIRS) 2017 – 2021. The overarching objective of the project is to improve the attendance, participation and retention of Traveller children and young people in the Tuam area. The Tuam pilot project is made up of four staff members. Bridget Ward and Martin F. Ward who are Education Workers, Erin Conway who is the Home School Community Liaison Coordinator and Deirdre Swords who is the Educational Welfare Officer. The pilot has 3 key goals. The pilot team are currently consulting with key stakeholders around these goals and this survey forms part of that consultation.

The Pilot has 3 Overarching Goals that in turn direct the team

Goal 1
Students – To improve the learning experience and outcomes for Traveller and Roma students in schools in the pilot areas.

Goal 2
Parents and Guardians – To improve parental/guardian engagement with the school community and foster an appreciation of the value of education among Traveller and Roma communities.

Goal 3
Schools – To improve attendance, participation and retention with the aim of improving the educational outcomes of Traveller and Roma Students.

STAR is also involved in programmes and workshops, below are just a few of them:
  • Check and connect – A student / Teacher mentoring programme. Check & Connect is an intervention used with students who show warning signs of disengagement with school and who are at risk of dropping out. At the core of Check & Connect is a trusting relationship between the student and a caring, trained mentor who both advocates for and challenges the student to keep education salient. Students are referred to Check and Connect when they show warning signs of disengaging from school, such as poor attendance, behavioral issues, and/or low grades.
  • Big brother Big sister School based programme Foroige, operates a mentoring programme in schools. The aim is to provide additional support to young people who have made the transition from primary to secondary education. The programme matches first year students with fourth/fifth/sixth year students. They meet once a week, for a school year and participate in games, sports, making lunch etc. in the school. Recruitment, training and supervision techniques are provided by BBBS for the schools programme. A designated teacher facilitates the programme in each school and links in with the local BBBS Officer. The schools programme is currently operating in over 50 schools throughout Ireland.
  • SCP Programmes – Friends for life, social support programme that runs in schools for up to 8 weeks with 3rd class and up.
  • Peep, Parent child facilitated programme that aims to support strong parent / child relationship building and bonding.
  • Incredible year / Dina School, facilitated group work programme ran with junior and senior infants.
  • Social skills and incentive programmes, facilitated group work programme ran with small groups can include cooking / team building / games / anti bullying etc. Mindfulness groups.