Schools share £1.1m investment

TWO Londonderry schools are to get a share of a £1.1 million investment package from the Department of Education.

Holy Family Primary School and St Brigid’s Primary School, which both have a ‘nurture unit’ are among 10 schools in the Province to receive a cash boost to maintain the running costs of the unit.

Nurture units cater for small groups of children in the school environment and help address barriers to learning arising from social, emotional or behavioural difficulties. This investment is in addition to the funding for 20 new units as part of the Delivering Social Change Signature Project announced by the First Minister and deputy First Minister in October.

The schools, which all have existing nurture units that require financial support to continue their work, were identified using the same criteria used to target funding for Extended Schools, with funding being directed to those nurture units based in schools with the greatest level of need.

Work is ongoing with the Department for Social Development (DSD) to identify the 20 schools that will be funded under the Delivering Social Change initiative announced by the First Minister and deputy First Minister in October, with these units due to open in September of this year.

Making the announcement the Education Minister, John O’Dowd, said: “Trained staff in these units will select the children who would benefit most from this support and will develop individual learning plans agreed with teachers and parents. The units will bridge the gap between home and school and will play a key role in my longer-term aim of closing the gap in educational attainment evident in our system.

“Given the pressures on the education budget, I have targeted these resources to areas of greatest social need. This funding will not only ensure children continue to benefit from the intervention, it will also ensure that the experience gained by these schools can contribute to the development of the Signature Project and can help shape future policy in this area.”