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LINC Programme Evaluation Report highlights how MIC-led initiative Continues to Empower Inclusive Practice through Continuing Professional Learning

At the launch of the Final Evaluation of Phase One of the Leadership for Inclusion in the Early Years (LINC) Programme (2016-2020), the LINC Consortium welcomed the reaffirmation of the programme’s profound impact and its crucial role in equipping Inclusion Coordinators (INCOs) with the knowledge and skills necessary to create inclusive environments where all children can thrive.

Since its commencement in 2016, the LINC Programme has been at the forefront of supporting inclusive practice in early childhood settings, earning national recognition and numerous accolades. It is run by a consortium comprising of Mary Immaculate College, Early Childhood Ireland and Maynooth University - The Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education.

Anna Mai Rooney, Leadership Coordinator at Oide and External Examiner of the LINC Programme, commended the programme, stating: "The LINC Programme is a prime example of innovative excellence in inclusive education. LINC modules detail the significant role of the Inclusion Coordinator in achieving an inclusive culture, practice, and pedagogy in early childhood settings. The modules include all the most effective approaches to professional learning including mentoring, blended learning, flipped classroom, and maintaining balance between theory and practice, while keeping the learning close to participants’ individual contexts. 

“The leadership learning for participants provides a sound platform for their leadership work and a springboard for further leadership development. With highly competent and empathetic tutors who bring an immense breadth of knowledge and experience to the participants, and the excellent administration and leadership provided by MIC, it is no surprise that the LINC Programme goes from strength to strength and is impacting positively on the lives of children in early childhood education countrywide.”

Prof. Emer Ring, Dean of Early Childhood and Teacher Education at MIC, underscored the importance of this milestone.

"The publication of the Final Evaluation of Phase One of the Leadership for Inclusion in the Early Years (LINC) Programme represents a significant milestone for children, families, and educational settings. The positive findings of this evaluation are testimony to the unparalleled commitment of all those who work on the LINC programme together with the dedication and perseverance of LINC students and graduates."

LINC staff holding the report
LINC staff holding the report
LINC staff holding the report

Teresa Heeney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland, praised the LINC Programme's impact on inclusive education, explaining that the LINC programme “has elevated professional development for educators and has become an instrumental force in creating inclusive environments where all children can flourish”

“This final evaluation marks a significant milestone, not just for the programme itself, but for the countless children across Ireland who now benefit from high-quality, inclusive education thanks to dedicated LINC graduates."

Niamh Fortune, Head of Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education in Maynooth University, echoed these sentiments, adding: "It is wonderful to celebrate this milestone with our LINC colleagues. This is an important evaluation of phase one of the programme which highlights the impact of LINC in the educational sector. These highly skilled LINC graduates are leaders in diversity, inclusion, and care of our young children."

Shirley Heaney, National Coordinator of the LINC Programme also welcomed the findings of the Evaluation Report.

It is wonderful to launch our Final Evaluation of Phase One of the Leadership for Inclusion in the Early Years (LINC) Programme. The positive findings highlight the dedication of the LINC Team and is testimony to their commitment to supporting inclusive practice and high quality continuing professional learning in the early years. We are extremely proud of our students and graduates, and the transformative work that they engage in each day in supporting the inclusion and active participation of all children and their families across the country.”

Read the Final Evaluation of Phase One of the Leadership for Inclusion in the Early Years (LINC) Programme (2016-2020) Report.

For further information regarding the LINC Programme, visit the LINC website.