4 Mar

Beggs presents Mental Health and Wellbeing petition

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has presented a petition to the Assembly calling for mental health and wellbeing to become compulsory within the Northern Ireland school curriculum.

Roy Beggs MLA said: “Mental health is a major challenge in Northern Ireland. One in ten children have a mental health problem and over a quarter of university and college students here suffer from mental health difficulties.

“Speaking in the Assembly on Monday I commended the work of Sara Patterson, a year 14 pupil at Carrickfergus Grammar School, who is seeking to make mental health and wellbeing a compulsory and more significant part of the NI School Curriculum. With the support of her friends, Sara has collected signatures by going door to door in her local community. She has also organised an online petition using Change.org (more…)

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4 Mar

Rogers: STEM must be a curriculum priority

SDLP Education Spokesperson Seán Rogers MLA has urged the Assembly to prioritise STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology & Mathematics) education in future curriculum

Speaking in the Assembly chamber today Mr Rogers said: “The primary school experience is the essential foundation of our children’s learning and while we have ‘The World Around Us’, Science and Technology is buried in this curriculum area along with History & Geography.

“Many barriers must be addressed if our children are to receive adequate STEM education; a lack of STEM graduates choosing to teach as they are snapped up by more lucrative careers, a lack of time and resources afforded to our teachers to encourage scientific curiosity and adventure in our children, and a detrimental focus on measuring achievement by grades. (more…)

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13 Feb

McNulty will restore pride and passion as Newry/Armagh MP

Armagh’s All-Ireland winning full back, Justin McNulty has been selected as the SDLP candidate in May’s Westminster election.

Mr McNulty was selected at a packed convention in the Armagh City Hotel on Thursday Night.

Speaking after his selection, Mr McNulty said:  “The energy in the room tonight was electric. I’m delighted and filled with determination to justify the faith that the party has placed in me. (more…)

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13 Feb

Lack of progress on internet safety disappointing – Overend

Ulster Unionist Party Children and Young People’s spokesperson, Sandra Overend MLA, has used Safer Internet Day 2015 to renew her call for the Executive to bring forward an internet safety strategy. The Mid-Ulster MLA has spoken of her disappointment at the lack of progress in this area, given the dangers faced by children and young people online.

Mrs Overend commented: “For more than two years now, I have lobbied the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to bring forward a cross-departmental strategy without delay. Indeed two years ago I led a debate and won Assembly support for a cross-party motion recognising the dangers for children associated with the internet; and calling on the First Minister and deputy First Minister to take the lead on the publication of a cross departmental internet safety strategy to help children enjoy the internet safely. Progress since then has, to say the least, been disappointing. (more…)

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13 Feb

DUP selects Bell for South Belfast

The DUP has selected Jonathan Bell to be the Party’s South Belfast candidate in the General Election.

DUP Leader Rt. Hon. Peter Robinson MLA said, “I’m delighted that Jonathan has been selected and unionists in the constituency have a strong candidate whom they can rally around. He has the experience and skill to be a first class representative for the constituency.

I would have liked a single agreed unionist candidate in South Belfast but that outcome could not be achieved. Such a situation would have moved the seat undoubtedly beyond any nationalist or republican. However with such a crowded field, Jonathan has a really unique opportunity to move this seat into the unionist column at Westminster.” (more…)

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13 Feb

Additional Education funding will alleviate pressures on schools – Hazzard

Speaking in the Assembly today Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Chris Hazard said the sizeable additional allocation of funding to education will alleviate many of the pressures facing teachers and students across the North.

Chris Hazzard said: “In response to a consultation on the Executive’s draft budget and representations from the trade unions, the schools and the community and minister John O’Dowd, education received an extra £64.6m.

“This reflects the Executive and the minister’s commitment to a high-quality education system which delivers excellence and contributes to the success of our economy and society as a whole. (more…)

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