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Sport can benefit our Young People – Ruane

30 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane congratulated all concerned with the production of GAA Education resources at the launch of Céim ar Aghaidh/Step Ahead and the World of Gaelic Games.

As a guest at the launch in Croke Park, alongside Conor Lenihan, Minister for Integration and Nicky Brennan, GAA President, the minister outlined the importance of supporting opportunities for young people to be active.

"Taking part in physical activities can raise young people's self-esteem and confidence, helping them as they progress through education and take their place in wider society. Within the north we run the Curriculum Sports Programme which provides IFA and GAA coaches in primary schools. Last year this saw 20 coaches from each discipline working in schools with pupils aged four to eight in over 400 primary schools. The coaches work closely with teachers so the programme supports the curriculum and provides a fun and exciting way for children to be more active and learn basic ball skills.

"Everything we can do to support young people in being active will help us to start addressing issues they face and help them have a healthy lifestyle. These resources are a positive way of supporting this in our schools."

"I am delighted to see the commitment here to promoting physical activity and inclusion in our schools. These new resources reach out a welcome to the newcomer children in our schools, who have the opportunity to participate in and enjoy our Gaelic sports. These are exciting times for all our young people and I know they will benefit from this initiative." ENDS

Note to Editors

1. Céim ar Aghaidh/Step Ahead Junior Cycle is a cross-curricular resource based on the theme of the GAA and integrating all subjects in the primary school curriculum. This is the third edition of this resource which has been very popular.

2. The world of Gaelic Games is a children's dual language book aimed at 8-12 year olds, telling stories of newcomer children who are playing Gaelic games. It is the culmination of a project involving a number of schools and pupils across the country and was supported by the south's Office of the Minister of Integration and the north's Inclusion and Diversity Service.

Curriculum Sports Programme:

  • The Curriculum Sports Programme aims to develop pupils' physical literacy skills and to support teachers in developing their confidence in delivering the PE curriculum.
  • The Department of Education has been working with the GAA and IFA, as two of the largest sports here, to deliver the programme.
  • The programme is entering its second year in schools with the GAA and IFA recruiting additional coaches to expand the programme to more schools and more pupils. Feedback from the first year has been very positive.

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