About the Programme

UCD, in collaboration with Zurich and with support from the Z Zurich Foundation has commenced a ground breaking new two-year programme called Power 2 Progress. This two-year intervention led programme will aim to address education inequality in Ireland, by supporting over 600 senior cycle students from 21 DEIS schools in reaching their full academic potential and ultimately achieve greater success. The programme will also fund PhD research to inform on future educational policy in Ireland.

We launched the programme in September 2021 with 16 DEIS schools across Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare and Wexford. With additional funding from Rethink Ireland, this helped expand the programme to 5 schools in Laois and Offaly, bringing the total to 21 schools today.

Judith Harford
Rachel Farrell
Brian Fleming
Amalia Fenwick
Professor Judith Harford

Judith Harford is Professor of Education and Deputy Head of the School of Education, University College Dublin. Her research area is history of education with a particular focus on gender and social class. Her books include The Opening of University Education to Women in Ireland (Irish Academic Press, 2008); Secondary School Education in Ireland: History, Memories and Life Stories, 1922-67 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); A Cultural History of Education in the Modern Age (Bloomsbury, 2020) and Piety and Privilege: Catholic Secondary Schooling in Ireland and the Theocratic State, 1922-67 (Oxford University Press, 2021). She has served on several committees and working groups of the Irish state Department of Education and Skills and the Teaching Council of Ireland. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy Social Sciences Committee, Public Interest Representative on the Law Society of Ireland Board of Examiners and a Fellow of the Geary Institute, UCD. She has acted as an international advisor to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Estonian Research Council. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society (London) and the Massachusetts Historical Society (USA), the Ireland Canada University Foundation Flaherty Visiting Professor, 2017-18 and a Fulbright Scholar in the Social Sciences, 2018-19. A Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a Life Member, Clare Hall, Cambridge, she has also held visiting scholar appointments at Boston College and the University of Toronto. She contributes regularly to the national press on educational issues and was VP for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Social Sciences and Law, UCD in the period 2018-2021.

Dr Rachel Farrell

Dr Rachel Farrell is Assistant Professor of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and the Director of the Professional Master of Education Programme (PME) in the School of Education at University College Dublin. Rachel’s main research interest is in the area of Democratic Pedagogical Partnerships and Expansive Learning in Initial Teacher Education (ITE). Rachel has led many collaborative initiatives including: effective use of immersive technology in post-primary education with SchooVR, an evaluation of digital portfolios in ITE with MS Education Ireland, cyber resilience education with the Department of the Environment Climate and Communications (DECC), Look See What I Can Be: Changing Mindsets/Impacting Futures in STEfunded by SFI and supported by the Professional Development Services for Teachers (PDST) and the PDST Young Economist of the Year national awards for post-primary students in association with multiple universities and government agencies. Follow Rachel on Twitter @econrachel 


Brian Fleming

Brian Fleming is a retired teacher. He served for twenty-five years as Principal of Collinstown Park Community College, a large school located in the Dublin suburb of Clondalkin. In retirement he completed a course of doctoral studies at the School of Education in University College Dublin. The focus of his dissertation was educational disadvantage. In his subsequent book, Irish Education 1922-2007: Cherishing All The Children? he analysed the policy of successive governments on the issue since the foundation of the state. Over the years, Brian has contributed articles to the national newspapers, and other publications. In the main these addressed aspects of the history of the Irish educational system and how it responds to the needs of today’s generation of economically deprived children and young people. He has recently completed a detailed study of the operation of the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) programme which has been published as The Lived Reality of Educational Disadvantage.

Amalia Fenwick

I’m a PhD researcher in the School of Education, UCD and the Power2Progress Co-ordinator and I’m very excited to be part of the Power2Progress intervention. My background is that I have degrees in Applied Psychology, Psychotherapy and Children & Youth Studies and I currently work for the School Completion Programme in West Dublin. I’m very passionate about giving every child an equal opportunity in life and especially in Education.