Focus Area 1


In the next 5 years our goal is to measurably reduce the number of children leaving Primary School and the number leaving Secondary School without qualifications.

A strong education is a child’s passport to a thriving future.

Education is the gateway to good physical and mental health, strong personal development, healthy relationships, stable employment and an improved life. From 2020 to 2025, the Irish Youth Foundation will support breakthrough proven projects and programmes that promote school retention and completion.

The problem our funding addresses


children each year do not transfer from primary to secondary school

According to the 2016 Census,


young people aged 15-24 had not received any formal education


who read poorly at age 9 will struggle to read for the rest of their lives.

Lack of education or poor performance in school is a prison door that slams shut all the key pathways to a positive future.

Some 4,500 young people stop attending school before completion of their Junior Certificate. More boys drop out than girls. But it’s areas of disadvantage that suffer most from lack of school retention and completion. It’s a priority area that the Irish Youth Foundation is determined to address.

The solution our funding provides

The Irish Youth Foundation only supports proven and evidence-based programmes.

Our funding will:

Support a range of targeted programmes

that will help deliver an increase in the numbers of students transitioning from Primary to Secondary

Support landmark programmes

that help to increase the number of young people completing Secondary school

Fund pioneering initiatives

that improve levels of awareness among parents and carers by funding programmes that work with both parent and child to overcome challenges.

Fund innovative research and new models

in the area of early school-leaving and school completion in order to provide communities, professionals and decision-makers with the best insights and data.

Support programmes that assist children and young people

at key milestones on their education journey.