Assembly Committee Sees Impact Of Poor Accommodation On Learning

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 23 June 2010

Reference: EDU 09/09/10

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Education today (23 June 2010) visited a North Belfast school to see first hand school facilities described by the Inspectorate as ‘far short of acceptable’.

Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin - an Irish Medium school in North Belfast - received an Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) in 2007 which stated that ‘Despite the teachers’ best efforts, the inadequate accommodation affects the quality of learning and teaching by impinging adversely on the morale of the teachers and children.’

A Committee spokesperson said: “The Board of Governors invited the Committee to visit today and see for ourselves the conditions in which teachers and pupils have to work and learn.

“The Committee is very concerned at the lack of progress in tackling the school’s accommodation problems. We understand the Department of Education is conducting a Review to determine how the very limited money available for building work should be prioritised. Whether Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin will get a new school will not be known until the results of that Review are announced.

“Despite these conditions the Committee was pleased to see the 2010 ETI Report note improvements in the quality of education provided since its 2007 report.

The Committee has also written to the Department of Education about the situation at Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin. The Department has responded saying that following a visit to the school Belfast Education and Library Board will be seeking the Department’s approval for minor capital works to address toilet and security issues.

The Committee recently received a budget update briefing from Department of Education officials which highlighted that between £270 and £290 million of repairs were needed on schools in Northern Ireland.

ENDS

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