Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Work to begin to develop Full Service School Network in Ballymurphy

21 November, 2007


Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has announced that work will begin to establish a Full Service School Network centred on Corpus Christi school in Ballymurphy.

Full Service Schools are designed to support schools to work with voluntary and statutory agencies and neighbouring communities to offer a range of services to pupils, families and the wider community such as adult learning classes, vocational classes and parental and pupil support.

Speaking during a visit to the school, Ms Ruane outlined the significance of the announcement and said:

"Our vision is to see the establishment of a Full Service School in Ballymurphy, centred on Corpus Christi College, which will create a network of schools and agencies working together to provide integrated local services and learning opportunities for pupils, their families and the wider community.

"Improving access to education is a major challenge in removing the cycle of deprivation that prevents children and young people from realising their true potential and aspirations in Ballymurphy. It is, however, not the only challenge. The Full Service School will require more than education provision if it is to be successful in linking the school and the community, removing barriers to learning and ensuring a greater uptake of services by children and parents.

"This will require support from sectors beyond education to allow the project to succeed and I welcome the commitment that others, including the Department for Social Development, have already shown to helping develop this concept for the Ballymurphy community.

"The challenge now is for the various bodies to work together with the schools and the wider community to make this vision a reality."

Ms Ruane explained that her Department had been working closely with the Department for Social Development and the Department for Health Social Services and Public Safety in taking forward the proposals which had emerged from engagement with the Ballymurphy community in dealing with the consequences of the feud in the area.

The Minister said:

"I see the Full Service school network as a critical response to the particular problems facing the community in Ballymurphy. I look forward to other agencies and stakeholders in the community working alongside us to bring this to fruition." ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • In the North of Ireland the Full Service Schools project and the wider Extended Schools programme are a key vehicle for the delivery of the Ten Year Strategy for Children and Young People.

  • At present the Department of Education is piloting the Full Service School through the Girls Model and Boys Model in North Belfast. They are working closely with local primary schools as well as with partnership organisations including: Barnardos; the Ulster Cancer Foundation; Forum Against Substance and Alcohol Abuse (FASA), Action Cancer and local community groups.

  • In conjunction with BELB and CCMS the Department of Education would hope to develop the Full Service School model in Ballymurphy in a way that allows Corpus Christi and other schools in the area to become a focal point for local residents to participate in community life - still supporting pupils but also engaging with families and the community. Alongside conventional school programmes we would expect provision for pre-school activities, health and well being programmes and a base for other local services (libraries, leisure facilities, health providers etc.)

Connect with Sinn Féin