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O’Dowd visits school and outdoor education centre in South Down

28 March, 2012 - by John O'Dowd

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has visited an Irish-medium school and an outdoor education centre in South Down.

During his first visit to Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche in Castlewellan, Mr O’Dowd met the Board of Governors before meeting staff and pupils in the school and the adjoining Naiscoil Uachtar Tíre.

After his tour, the Minister said: 

“The Irish language sector is the fastest growing in our education system, and I am pleased to be able to come and see the good work being done in a sector that continues to thrive and provide pupils with the opportunity to learn through the medium of Irish.

“I very much value the benefits that Irish-medium education offers children and I am confident that Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche will continue to play a role in the promotion of the Irish language in the surrounding area.

”The Minister also viewed the recently completed accommodation works at the school. The building has been designed to be easily extendable to meet future development needs of the school.Mr O’Dowd went on to visit Greenhill YMCA, an outdoor education and residential centre in Newcastle. The centre, based on the slopes of Slieve Donard, delivers a range of youth and outdoor activities.

The Minister said:

“Youth organisations such as the YMCA play an important part in the lives of children and young people. They provide opportunities for them to engage in positive and enjoyable educational activities outside the school environment which help build confidence, self esteem and develop interpersonal skills.

“Youth organisations offer a variety of programmes and activities that provide an added layer of non-formal learning through which young people gain additional skills, knowledge and qualifications. It is the youth workers and volunteers within these youth organisations that play a key role in ensuring that young people continue to make the most of these opportunities and develop as active members of their communities.”

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