07/09/2005

Post-primary schools in specialist pilot scheme

All post-primary schools have been asked to express their interest in being considered for a Specialist Schools Pilot.

The Pilot will involve approximately 10 post-primary schools as well as testing the concept of specialist schools in a Northern Ireland context.

This follows on from a successful conference, held last November, to raise awareness on the benefits of the specialist schools model.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education explained: "The aim is to include schools that represent a range of management types; a geographical spread, involving rural and urban schools; large and small schools; and a number of different specialist curricular areas."

The core objectives of the Specialist School Concept in Northern Ireland are:
  • To provide opportunities for pupils to benefit from wider learning experiences and to ensure maximum impact of the available expertise and resources, by promoting co-operation and collaboration among schools and between schools and FE Colleges.
  • To provide parents with greater choice among a range of schools, which have differing areas of focus.
  • To raise standards and realise performance improvement for all young people.
The Specialist Schools Pilot is part of the wider "Entitled to Succeed" Programme, which includes the implementation of the new curriculum and new Post-Primary arrangements.

Those schools successfully completing the full application process will be designated as pilot Specialist Schools from September 2006 for a period of four years.

During this period the Department, in conjunction with the DETI, will work closely with these schools to monitor their progress against agreed School Development Plans.

(MB/SP)

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