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3 April, 2009 - by Caitríona Ruane

Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has met with the Under-Secretary of State for the Polish Ministry of Education, Krzysztof Stanowski.

The meeting was held to discuss the educational needs of Polish children in schools across the North of Ireland. The 2008 schools census recorded 2,511 Polish children attending schools here.

Speaking after her meeting with Minister Krzysztof Stanowski, Ms Ruane said: “Our schools are enriched by the wide diversity of cultures the newcomer children bring. The largest group are Polish children and I updated Minister Stanowski on the measures we have in place to help them get the most from the educational opportunities available.

“The Polish government has been implementing a range of educational reforms, many similar to our plans, and these have already shown successes, as their performance in international assessments has been improving. The Minister was interested in my proposals for Transfer 2010 and highlighted the positive impacts on educational standards in Poland of their non-selective education system.

“The Minister was interested in the potential use of schools to host Polish cultural events outside normal school hours and with Polish Week taking place in May this is an area to be investigated. We also discussed the feasibility of teachers from Poland gaining employment in schools in the North.

“I have just launched a policy on supporting newcomer children so they can have access to the full range of the curriculum. Our schools and community can gain genuine advantages by welcoming and embracing these new cultures.”

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