The Challenger Programme was set up by Northside Partnership in 1995. It provides structured supports for students and their parents from 6th class to 6th year to help students:

  • Transfer from 6th class into secondary school
  • Prepare for their Junior Certificate
  • Complete their Leaving Certificate

Every year we provide support to a total of 200 students from our five partner schools. As students complete their secondary education we are able to offer 40 new students a place on the programme each year. Challenger parents are offered a further education programme together with the supports provided to their children.

Click here to view the 2018 case study about the Challenger Programme funded by Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme.  For more information, please contact Paul Hayes

Click on the image below to hear about one participants experience:

Karena Flynn Thai talks about her Challenger experience

It is open to children and parents in our five partner schools who want to do well in school and who want to complete their Leaving Certificate.

  • Our Lady of Immaculate SNS, Darndale (10 Students)
  • St. Joseph’s NS, Bonnybrook (10 Students)
  • St. Francis SNS, Priorswood  (10 Students)
  • Scoil Fhursa (Boys School), Kilmore West (5 Students)
  • Scoil Ide (Girls School), Kilmore West (5 Students)
  • Children will be provided with the following educational supports:
    6th Class Students
    • Reading Club (4 Sessions)
    • Public Speaking/Debate (6 Sessions)
    • Conversational Irish, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra (6 sessions)
    • Cultural Events (4 day trips to Dublin museums and cultural venues)
    • End of Year Trip
    1st Year students
    • Maths Club (4 sessions)
    • Introduction to Mind Mapping (1 session)
    • Science Workshop (4 sessions)
    • Activity Linked To Third Level College (1 session – DCU)
    • End of Year Trip (Day trip)
    2nd Year students
    • Maths Workshop (4 Sessions)
    • Conversational Irish (6 sessions)
    • End of Year Trip (Day trip)
    • Gaeltacht Scholarship, Colaiste Acla, Co. Mayo (50% contribution)
    3rd year students
    • Parent & Student Meeting on Subject Choices
    • Presentation Skills (10 sessions)
    • Extra Tuition/Grinds
    4th year students Mind Mapping (1 session)
    5th year students Study Skills (1 session)
    6th year students
    • Third Level Information Meeting
    • Guidance Meeting & One to One Session
    • Extra Tuition/Grinds
    • We will let you know about how your child is getting on in the programme.
    • We will listen to your ideas and your feedback about your child and the programme.
    • We provide tutors and trainers who will provide you with a quality service.

    Parents of Challenger children are encouraged to take part in courses which will help them to support their child’s education. In 2015/16, parents of all 6th class children will be offered a place on the STEPS motivational programme. STEPS gives people the tools to make any changes they want to make happen in a quicker and more effective way.

  • We expect your child to attend at least 80% of the support activities provided.
  • Providing your child attends 80% of activities they will continue to be offered a place each year. If they fail to attend this amount of activities, their place will be offered to another child.
  • Parents are expected to encourage their children in education and to take part in our Parents’ Education programme.

Each year all parents and children in 6th class in our partner schools are invited to attend an information evening on the programme. At this session, we explain how it will help your child and discuss your role in the programme. This usually takes place in October each year.

If you attend the information evening you and your child will be invited for an interview with two people who are members of the Challenger committee.

Children are offered a place on the programme based on:

  • How your child is performing in school (shown by the Micra (English) and Sigma (Maths) test results)
  • Your child’s school attendance
  • How you and your child have presented at interview

We will write to you to let you know if you are being offered a place or not. If your child is not offered a place they will be put on a reserve list. In the event that a child does not take up a place or one becomes available on the programme you may be invited to participate.

We can only provide the programme with the support of teachers and principals of our partner schools as well as the City of Dublin VEC and Dublin City University.

Challenger has a committee made up of representatives of students, parents, home school liaison officers, our staff and Dublin City University. This committee takes part in interviewing parents and students and in deciding who is offered a place on the programme.

Challenger is funded by the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government under the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme.

Northside Partnership has created a manual which brings together the learning and practice from its experience of running the programme since 1995Working with Colin Falconer of Inspire Chilli to develop the manual has put Advantaged Thinking at centre of the programme by working with the strengths and capabilities of individuals and communities. It is available as a guide to other organisations who are interested in setting up a similar programme and as a tool to enable consistency of delivery.   

You can download the manual here: Challenger Resource Manual

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