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Education Minister announces nine new Specialist Schools

4 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane today announced that a further nine schools will be designated as Specialist Schools from September 2008 bringing the total number of Specialist Schools to 34.

The minister thanked the independent panel that recommended the schools for inclusion and commended the nine new pilot schools. She said:

"I wish to congratulate the nine schools on their success. I am encouraged that we have a range of specialisms across the nine schools. I wish to thank the panel members for their work during the assessment process and I noted with interest that all of the applications demonstrated a high degree of commitment and energy and I hope this will provide encouragement to those schools that were not successful this year."

In their advice to the minister, the panel members stated that the applications demonstrate that there is a growing impetus in the post-primary community to work together to secure a wide range of provision for all pupils. The applications demonstrated a commitment to excellence and to collaborative working with other education partners and the wider community to enrich the learning experiences and life opportunities of young people and for the benefit of their local community.

The minister said:

"I am encouraged by the findings of the panel as there is a clear indication that post-primary schools are seeking to work together in the best interest of the young people and the wider community. I am also encouraged that the schools are actively working in Area Learning Communities in the best interest of all pupils in an area and not just those registered in a single school.

"This is a solid foundation on which we can develop exciting and innovative approaches to delivering the flexibility and choice that is envisaged through the Entitlement Framework. I will be working to ensure that these developments continue to flourish and that we develop a system that provides equality of opportunity through numerous pathways to meet the needs and aspirations of our young people." ENDS

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