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Education Minister commends Foyle Area Learning Community

Education Minister, John ODowd, has paid tribute to the good work of the Foyle Area Learning Community during a visit to Derry today.
Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Minister was speaking during a visit to St Joseph’s Boys’ School where he had the opportunity to meet teachers and pupils from a number of schools in the Foyle Learning Community (FLC). The FLC is a group of 15 schools that work together to facilitate the joint planning and expansion of the curriculum offered in the Derry area. The schools collaborate with each other to ensure that pupils have access to a wider range of subjects. This allows them to deliver better educational outcomes for the young people and also meet the legal requirements of the Entitlement Framework.

During his visit the Minister was given an overview and demonstration of the ‘Foyle Cloud’ which is a virtual learning environment that allows pupils access to courses online through other schools in the Learning Community. Schools also use ‘Foyle Cloud’ for staff development and contact, career planning, post 16 collaborative courses and other inter-school projects.

The Minister said: “The implementation of the Entitlement Framework is one of the most important developments in our education system. Schools will, by September 2013, be required by law to provide pupils with access to 18 courses at Key Stage 4 and 21 courses at post 16. This will rise to 24 and 27 courses respectively by September 2015.

“This move is a key part of my vision of an education system that is tailored to meet the needs of the pupils in our schools; not the institutions themselves. It will help equip young people with the skills and qualifications they need as it guarantees them the legal right to a broad and balanced curriculum and a more varied range of choices.

“I welcome the fact that here in Derry the schools within the Foyle Area Learning Community are well ahead of schedule in delivering this important piece of work and I commend all those involved in bringing this about.”

The Minister went on to comment on the ‘Foyle Cloud’ project saying: “I have been very impressed with what I’ve seen and heard this morning at St Joseph’s. It is clear that all schools involved are putting the needs of the pupils first by offering access through modern technology to a wide range of courses.

“The Cloud Project is an excellent example of how sharing knowledge and expertise through digital technologies benefits pupils, teachers and schools and the enthusiasm and dedication of those involved with the project is very encouraging.”

After leaving St Joseph’s the Minister paid a visit to Holy Family Primary and Nursery School in the city. He met with the Principal, Garry Matthewson, along with teachers, school staff and representatives from the Board of Governors. The Minister was treated to a musical performance from the school choir and had the opportunity to visit some of the classrooms to talk to the pupils.

In conclusion the Minister said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit to both St Joseph’s and Holy Family schools today and would like to thank all those involved for their warm welcome. I also want to take this opportunity to wish all the pupils, staff and their families a very Happy Christmas.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The Department of Education has launched a new ‘Education Works’ advertising campaign. The campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. Watch out for the ads on television, radio and outdoor locations. 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.
  2. View photos from the Department of Education in our Flickr collection.
  3. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9701. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 99 715 440, and your call will be returned.