Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency


The School Completion Programme (SCP) is a targeted programme of support for primary and post primary children and young people who have been identified as potentially at risk of early school leaving or who are out of school and have not successfully transferred to an alternative learning site (i.e. Youthreach, Community Training Centre etc.) or employment.  It is a support under the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) Programme, funded by Tusla Education Support Services (TESS). SCP aims to retain a young person to completion of the leaving certificate, equivalent qualification or suitable level of educational attainment which enables them to transition into further education, training or employment.

There are 122 SCP projects covering 467 primary and 222 post-primary schools. Annual programme funding is 24.7m.

The SCP is one of three strands of Tusla Education Support Service (TESS) including the Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) Scheme and the Educational Welfare Service. All three strands share the same national outcomes:

  • Improved Attendance
  • Improved Participation
  • Improved Retention

Who is SCP For?

The SCP Programme is a programme to support children and young people who are at risk of early school leaving and students of school going age who are not currently attending school.

SCP projects provide the following interventions to children and young people:

  1. Evidence based/evidence informed interventions at universal level to whole class/whole school groups.
  2.  Brief interventions for 8 weeks or less for students identified as needing an immediate short term SCP led intervention.
  3.  Targeted interventions to children and young people with significant support needs who have been identified through the SCP Intake Framework. (Only students in this target group need to be processed through the full Intake Framework referral).

Who can make Referrals to a SCP Project?

Referrals can be made in relation to any child or young person enrolled in a school which is included in a SCP project. The majority of schools included in the programme are DEIS schools. Referrals can be made by participating primary and post-primary schools, parents, self-referrals or other agencies working with children and young people in the project cluster.

For further information on making a referral to SCP, please contact your local SCP coordinator click here.  

TESS provides a range of National Supports and Guidance to the SCP projects.

Please note these supports replace the SCP Administrative, Financial and Employment Guidelines 2006.

SCP Continuous Professional Development Framework:

The TESS funded Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme for SCP provides a framework that ensures that SCP staff have the necessary competencies to achieve the desired impact and outcomes of the Programme.

CPD is provided through a standardised and consistent staff learning and development programme.  There are five mandatory CPD training days which should be completed within the first 12 months of a SCP staff person in post.  These CPD days are:

Day 1

Induction to SCP

Day 2

SCP Intake Framework*

Day 3

Needs Assessment and Outcomes Focused Planning

Day 4

Curriculum Design and Evaluation

Day 5

Implementation Support

*This is integrated training attended by SCP staff, Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) coordinators and Education Welfare Officers (EWO).

In addition to the mandatory CPD days 1 to 5, TESS recommends a range of evidence based/informed elective CPD trainings.  SCP projects may choose to attend elective CPD trainings based on their local need.

For further information on the SCP CPD Framework, please contact Joanne O’Neill.

SCP Retention Planning:

The 2019/20 Retention Plan templates and accompanying guidance can be found here. The 2020/21 template will issue Friday, 6th March. The deadline for submissions will be 12 o’clock Friday, 24th April.


For further information on the role and responsibility of Local Management Committee members please click here to listen to a webinar designed specifically for SCP Local Management Committee members and projects Coordinators. It is recommended that all new Chairpersons, LMC members and Coordinators listen to this on taking up their role.

Financial Returns:

The deadlines for 2019/20 SCP Financial Return are:

For guidance on completion of the Financial Return click here

Children First:

All SCP projects must have a current child protection policy and guidelines and Child Safe Guarding statement in place. All staff must have completed the Tusla Universal E-Learning please click here to access this online training. All SCP staff including all sessional staff and contractors and all volunteers working in a SCP project must be Garda vetted. For further information please contact Jean Rafter, Children First and Service Development Manager, TESS, jean.rafter@tusla.ie

Data Protection:

Al SCP projects must have a Data Protection Policy in place. For further information on the development of a policy and adherence to the 2018 GDPR legislative requirements. Please click here to listen to a webinar designed specifically for SCP Local Management Committee members and projects Coordinators. Sample policy templates are also available please contact Joanne O’Neill.

Human Resources:

TESS contract Graphite Hrm Ltd. to provide HR and IR support to SCP projects. SCP Chairpersons and Coordinators can register to access support on behalf of the SCP Local Management Committee and staff. Graphite can be contacted directly on 01-8860350. To register please contact Joanne O’Neill.

General HR Supports:

Please contact Hananh Regan for sample job specifications for SCP Coordinators and Project Workers. Sample contract packs are available.

TESS must be notified when a new SCP coordinator is being recruited.  TESS will then nominate a TESS staff member to the interview panel.

Contact Us:

Áine O’Keeffe
National Manager
Niamh Quinn
SCP CPD Training Manager
Joanne O’Neill
joanne.oneill3@tusla.ie / 01-7718927


The Predictive Indicators of Early School Leaving (2017) | Executive Summary

This research was commissioned in 2017 to provide an up to date report on the drivers of Early School Leaving in Ireland today. This comprehensive review of the National and International literature has provided the basis for referral to the SCP and the design of the suite of interventions recommended for SCPs.

The SCP Intake Framework 

The SCP Intake Framework is the means by which referrals for children and young people who require intensive and ongoing support from SCP are made.  The three strands of TESS, namely SCP, HSCL coordinators and EWOs, work in an integrated manner to ensure that those children and young people most in need of SCP intervention and support are prioritised for inclusion in the Programme. 

Referrals can be made in relation to any child or young person enrolled in a school which is included in a SCP project.  Referrals can be made by schools, parents, self-referrals and other community agencies.  Please note: not every child or young person referred may receive a targeted support.  For further information, please contact your local SCP coordinator.

Referral Forms are available here

Review of the School Completion Programme (ESRI 2015)
This report provides an in-depth examination of the operation of the School Completion Programme (SCP).

SCP Project List:

School Completion Programme Projects List
The excel spreadsheet indicates the 122 cluster arrangements of primary and / or post-primary schools participating in the School Completion Programme as of September 2019.


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