Ministers visit EastSide Learning Summer School

Education Minister Peter Weir and Justice Minister Naomi Long visited the EastSide Learning STEM summer school which provides targeted educational support in the local community.

The cross-Executive funded summer school is delivering activities, to children in P5-P7, in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects around the theme ‘Keeping Safe in a Pandemic’.

The summer school is part of the Wrap programme, which is an educational support pilot programme for children and young people.

Speaking after visiting the summer school, Education Minister Peter Weir said:

"The Covid-19 pandemic has presented our whole society with many challenges, not least our children and young people.Social interaction between children has been severely reduced over the last number of months. I welcome the positive impact that the STEM summer school will have on these children by helping them overcome the significant challenges presented during this difficult time.Summer schools such as this provide important support for children with their learning and help them prepare for a return to school after such a long absence. The theme of this scheme ‘Keeping Safe in a Pandemic’ is a very appropriate topic to help build a confident return to school for these children and their families. I wish them all well.”

Justice Minister Naomi Long said:

“Education in the community initiatives such as this one are key in helping our young people reach their full potential; building aspiration; and promoting positive attitudes to education.The Wrap Programme, which is part of a wider cross-Executive programme through the Fresh Start Agreement, is a really important initiative and provides positive educational interventions, parenting programmes and family support; and engages parents and the community in the education of our children.”

Barbara Wallace from EastSide Learning said:

“The last few months have been such a challenging time, especially for children who have been absent from school and isolated from their friends and classmates. We have continued to provide support programmes for children in East Belfast throughout the pandemic, but it is great to be able to provide an actual in-person summer school for these children this week. The theme was very relevant to our current times and the expert teachers from Sentinus were able to educate the children in an engaging and interesting way on some key areas around the science of the pandemic and how to keep themselves safe.”

The WRAP programme operates in four geographical areas and links to the Department’s work on a strategy to reduce educational disadvantage.