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O'Dowd approves new Learning Support Classes at Shankill area primary schools

Education Minister, John O'Dowd, has approved the establishment of dedicated Learning Support Classes at Edenbrooke and Glenwood Primary Schools, Belfast.
Thursday, 12 June 2014

Each school will have two Learning Support Classes, one at Key Stage 1, including Foundation Stage, to cater for up to 10 pupils and one at Key Stage 2, to cater for up to 12 pupils. The classes will deliver dedicated support to pupils with various types of Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Commenting on his decision, the Minister said: “My aim is that all pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs, have access to a high quality education.

“These Learning Support Classes will have long-term benefits for pupils in the Shankill area. The dedicated and specialist support provided will help to enhance pupils’ educational experience, particularly at this crucial early stage of their school life.

“This new, specialised provision is indicative of my commitment to tackle and prevent educational underachievement, particularly among children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Indeed this is why I have also lent my support to the Greater Shankill Partnership Board’s efforts to established Shankill Children’s Zone. This innovative approach is aimed at helping the local community boost the life chances of children and young people by getting the most out of the range of statutory services operating in the area.

“By ensuring that children with particular needs have the education they need from a young age, we can give them the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential in the longer term.”

Concluding, the Minister said: “Over the coming months, the Belfast Education and Library Board will work closely with the two schools involved to get this provision established. I want to take this opportunity to wish Edenbrooke and Glenwood Primary Schools every future success with their Learning Support Classes.”

The Belfast Education and Library Board envisages that, in each school, the Key Stage 1 and Foundation Learning Support Class will be operational from September 2014, while the Key Stage 2 Learning Support Class will be operational by September 2015.

Notes to editors:

  1. Edenbrooke and Glenwood Primary Schools are controlled schools located in Belfast’s Shankill area. Their current enrolments are 223 and 509 respectively.
  2. The Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB) published Development Proposals No 220 and 221 on 13 February 2014, which proposed the establishment of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 Learning Support Classes at each of the two schools, with effect from September 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter.
  3. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit NIdirect website for more information or watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel.
  4. View photos from the Department of Education in our Flickr collection.
  5. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.