17 May

Primary school sports coaching gets £600,000 in funding

Primary school sports coaching gets £600,000 in fundingThe Department of Education is to spend £600,000 on a new sports and emotional resilience programme in primary schools.

The scheme will be run by the GAA and Irish Football Association (IFA) in the 2019/20 school year.

The funding is initially for one year and the programme will be focused on pupils aged 7 to 11.

Annual funding of £1.3m for a previous sports programme which employed around 50 GAA and IFA coaches ceased in 2018.

The decision to end the curriculum sports programme provoked criticism from both principals and politicians.

While the new scheme will also involve coaches from the GAA and IFA going into around 300 schools, it is unclear how many will be employed.


16 May

Stalemate is causing pupils to suffer, say principals

Stalemate is causing pupils to suffer, say principalsMore than 500 primary school principals have told the head of the NI civil service that teachers and children are “suffering” due to the lack of a government.

The warning comes in a strongly-worded letter to David Sterling from the Strategic Principals’ Forum.

It was signed by around 540 head teachers.

Mr Sterling chairs a working group at the ongoing talks aimed at restoring power-sharing.

The principals’ letter read: “Our school leaders are crying out for help, exasperated by the lack of governance and with significantly increasing levels of stress and anxiety.”

The document, which has been seen by BBC News NI, asked Mr Sterling to raise the “extreme urgency of need” facing education with politicians.


14 May

Patrick Kielty calls for end to segregated education in NI

Patrick Kielty calls for end to segregated education in NIPaddy Kielty has called for an end to segregation of education along religious lines in Northern Ireland.

An outsider like Good Friday Agreement peace talks chairman George Mitchell should be introduced to overhaul the country’s divided schooling system, the broadcaster and comedian said.

He criticised “casual sectarianism” and “tribalism” which characterises parts of society.

Kielty said: “I think we really have to address education, segregated education, and I think that as a society we kind of have to start calling out that casual sectarianism.

“Whenever we had peace here we thought if we move on to a Glaswegian level of sectarianism that is fine, so we only hate each other every week when we go to football.

“That is not good enough. The tribalism of that is not good enough.”

He addressed an Ulster University event in Belfast focusing on sectarianism.


10 May

Teachers in our schools: the extent of the religious divide revealed

Teachers in our schools: the extent of the religious divide revealedA major piece of research into the one profession where it is still lawful to discriminate on the grounds of religion has just been published.

It finds that just 2% of teachers in maintained primary schools are from a Protestant background and 7% of those in controlled primary schools are from a Catholic background.

The report Employment Mobility of Teachers and the FETO Exception is the first in a series of ten to improve awareness of aspects of the education system in NI, which could impact upon its successful transformation to a more integrated system. It is led by the UNESCO centre through the UU School of Education with funding from UNESCO and the Integrated Education Fund.


7 May

Cost of Division

Cost of Division“Separate but equal is not an option. Parallel living and the provision of parallel services are unsustainable both morally and economically … the costs of a divided society — whilst recognising the very real fears of people around safety and security considerations — are abundantly clear: segregated housing and education, security costs, less than efficient public service provision … Policy that simply adapts to, but does not alter these challenges, results in inefficient resource allocations. These are not sustainable in the medium to long-term.”


12 Mar

Post-primary schools in Northern Ireland get pupil boost

Post-primary schools in Northern Ireland get pupil boostTwenty post-primary schools across Northern Ireland are to get extra places for new pupils in 2019.

The Department of Education (DE) has made the move in order to cope with an expected increase in Year Eight pupil numbers in some areas.

Most of the places are for schools in the Belfast, North Down and Ards areas.

However, Bangor Grammar School principal Elizabeth Huddleson told BBC News NI she was “deeply disappointed” that it had been given no extra places.

In all, 413 additional places are being provided in 20 schools this September.

Bangor Academy, Strangford Integrated College and Hazelwood Integrated College are to get 40 extra places each.

Regent House Grammar School and Lisnagarvey High School will get 30 extra places, while Ashfield Boys’ High School, Belfast Model School for Girls, Aquinas Grammar School, Lagan College, St Pius X College in Magherafelt and St Patrick’s College in Dungannon are to get 20 additional places.

Priory Integrated College in Holywood is to get 23 more places, Ashfield Girls’ High School 17 extra places and St Columbanus’ College in Bangor and St Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon 15 additional places each.

Dromore High School is to get 12 more Year Eight places, Strathearn School and Glastry College 10 each, Antrim Grammar School eight and Nendrum College three.


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