A NEW family community learning suite has been opened at St Mary’s High School in Lurgan.
The facilities provide for adults wishing to avail of further education opportunities and for pupils studying outside normal school hours. The projects form part of a major programme of measures aimed at improving the standard of education in the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal Areas.
The suite was unveiled by the Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland last week. Along with the opening of a similar suite at Ballyoran Primary School, this amounted to a total investment of £200,000.
He said: “Too many people continue to experience barriers to employment because of a lack of qualifications. I am determined to help remove these barriers. Education is one of the issues which must be addressed if we are to tackle the cycle of deprivation in the three Neighbourhood Renewal Areas in Craigavon, and greater parental involvement in children’s educational development is a key factor.
“The family learning centres at Ballyoran Primary School and St Mary’s High School will not only facilitate such engagement but they will also provide local venues through which parents might be encouraged to undertake adult education courses in more familiar surroundings.”
The centres, costing in excess of £200,000, were financed through the Department for Social Development’s Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund, with an in kind contribution of approximately £13,000.00 from the Southern Education and Library Board.
Education Minister, John O’Dowd said: “Funding provided by my Department through the Extended Schools and Full Service Schools Programmes has allowed schools serving some of our most disadvantaged communities to deliver a range of before and after school clubs and specialist support programmes for pupils and parents.
“The community learning facilities being launched in St Mary’s High School and Ballyoran Primary School are another excellent way of providing greater access to education.
“I welcome the commitment from the Department for Social Development and the Southern Education and Library Board in bringing this very valuable project to fruition.”