26/10/2001

Support package for two north Belfast primary schools

The Education Minister Martin McGuinness has announced details of a £154,000 support package for Holy Cross and Wheatfield Primary Schools in North Belfast.

Mr McGuinness said: “Children, teachers and parents from both schools have had to deal with unprecedented levels of stress and disruption every day for the last eight weeks. I feel it is very important that the education authorities continue to provide appropriate support to help them through this difficult time.”

The package has been agreed by the Department of Education following extensive discussion with the Belfast Education and Library Board, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and both schools to assess their needs.

Mr McGuinness explained how the money would be used: “This funding will be used to support the measures which Holy Cross and Wheatfield schools themselves have identified as necessary to meet the needs of their pupils and staff. These include, for each school, additional substitute teachers, classroom assistants, curriculum support for P7 pupils, curriculum materials and funding for respite activities for pupils and staff. In addition, the Belfast Board will continue to provide ongoing support services to both schools.

The Minister paid tribute to the teaching and non-teaching staff and the school authorities involved, particularly the Principals of Holy Cross and Wheatfield Primary Schools for all their efforts in dealing with the ongoing situation.

Mr McGuinness concluded: “I know that this additional financial support will be welcomed and put to good use by both schools. However, it must remain our priority that a longer-term solution is found to these community issues so that pupils of Holy Cross and Wheatfield can once again enjoy a normal school environment.” (AMcE)

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