The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) was developed by the Government to enable Ireland to access funding under the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the largest component of NextGenerationEU which is the European Union’s response to the global pandemic.

The aim is to help repair the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the pandemic and to prepare for a post-Covid Europe that is greener, includes improved digitisation, is more resilient and fit to face the future.

The Department of Education was successful in securing €50m under this funding facility for the issue of a once-off grant to recognised primary and post-primary schools in the free education scheme. The focus of this funding will be to enable schools to address the needs of learners at risk of educational disadvantage arising from a lack of access to necessary digital infrastructure.

This funding is specifically targeted at supporting learners at risk of educational disadvantage through lack of access to digital technology. Schools should plan for the effective and targeted use of this funding as part of their Digital Learning Plan (DLP). It is important that schools review and revise their DLP to incorporate the specific intentions for this funding to ensure purposeful investment aligned to their overall strategic goals for enhanced digital capacity for all learners.

With the grant that St Patrick’s BNS received from this fund, our school purchased thirty six new laptops and a charging trolley. The laptops support learners at risk of educational disadvantage as a result of the digital divide by giving them access to IT equipment that they might not otherwise have.

Pupils have used these devices to utilise Google Classroom as a digital folder, and as a support to their learning in different areas of the curriculum. For pupils who have English as an additional language, apps such as Duolingo and Google Translate support their learning.