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Welcome for designation of ‘specialist schools’

27 April, 2009 - by Carál Ní Chuilín, Caitríona Ruane

North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has welcomed the news that a further 10 schools have been designated as special schools from September 2009, bringing the total number to 44. This included St Patrick College on the Antrim Road in north Belfast.

Following the assessment by the independent panel, ten schools were assessed as meeting in full the criteria required for specialist school designation. Six of these had specialisms in STEM-related areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

Speaking on the announcement Ms Ní Chuilín said,

“Saint Patrick’s, like the other schools involved in this initiative have had an anxious wait in receiving this news but I welcome the announcement and congratulate them on their achievement.

Education Minister Cáitríona Ruane has indicated that she would draw on the evidence and experiences from the existing specialist schools to develop a more inclusive model with a sharper focus on:

  • raising standards;
  • tackling the barriers to learning that too many of our young people face;
  • sharing and learning from one another: and
  • ensuring that the voice of pupils is sought and listened to in schools.

All of this is based on the Minister’s plans to review the existing programme with a view to building on the many strengths of the programme, particularly in the context of raising standards and tackling educational underachievement. That can only be a good thing for Saint Patrick’s and all other schools.” CRÍOCH

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