Policy Forum for Northern Ireland

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us: +44 (0)1344 864796.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? You can contact our Delegate Relations team at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk or by calling the above number.

Priorities for tackling educational underachievement in Northern Ireland

October 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference will examine priorities for tackling educational underachievement following the recent report from the Expert Panel on Educational Underachievement, A Fair Start, which outlines a new action plan that includes 47 areas for improvement.

Delegates will also look at the impact of COVID-19 on the attainment gap and educational underachievement, as well as other relevant developments, such as the Summer Scheme 2021 and the Pathway Fund 2021-2023, with further discussion on the links between socio-economic deprivation and educational underachievement.

The agenda will bring out latest thinking on:

  • key findings from the Expert Panel
  • early learning and development and its role in laying the groundwork for later learning
  • delivering improvements to the curriculum and assessment landscape
  • socio-economic deprivation and educational achievement

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions from:

  • Michelle McIlveen MLA, Minister of Education
  • Dr Noel Purdy, Director of Research and Scholarship, Head of Education Studies, Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement, Stranmillis University College; and Chair, Expert Panel on Educational Underachievement, Department of Education
  • Corrine Latham, Interim Director of Curriculum and Assessment, Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA)


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from DAERA, NI; the Department for the Economy, NI; the Department for Education, NI; the Education and Training Inspectorate, NI; the Northern Ireland Audit Office; and the Department for Education. Also due to attend are representatives from Action for Children NI; Barnardo's; Carrickfergus Grammar School; Catholic Schools Trustee Service; CCEA; Copyright Licensing Agency; Education Authority Northern Ireland; Equality Commission for NI; Extern; Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway; Health and Social Care Board; Lifestart Foundation; Loyola Marymount University; National Foundation for Educational Research; Queen's University Belfast; Save the Children; Silverstream Primary School, Carrickfergus; St Patrick's College Dungannon; Ulster University; West Belfast Partnership Board; Women Centre Derry; Young at Art; and Young Enterprise NI.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials are made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles