SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly has highlighted a number of issues facing schools across the area.
Mrs Kelly invited Education Minister Michelle McIlveen to the constituency last week to show her first hand the good work going on in the schools and highlight the need for further funding.
Mrs Kelly took Minister McIlveen to Portadown IPS, St John the Baptist’s College, CEARA Special School and Tullygally PS.
Upper Bann MLA Mrs Kelly said:
“I was delighted to bring Minister McIlveen to our schools last week to both highlight the good work ongoing in our schools with our tireless staff and engaged pupils, but also to identify areas where improvements are needed to offer our young people the best educational experience possible. While the Minister was very impressed by what she saw during her visit she also accepted that there was work to be done to help our schools and staff.
“During our visit to Portadown IPS we underlined the need for a site to be selected for the new school build. I have been working with PIPS for a number of years to assist with their plans and am glad we have now identified two potential sites for the new school. There is a huge demand for integrated education in this area and it’s important that we ensure parents and pupils have as much choice as possible.
“At St John the Baptist’s College there is a huge waiting list for places and the school is still unable to educate students to A-Level and they need support in their efforts to expand provision. CEARA Special School is having issues around the number of staff, following an increase in the number of pupils who require one to one specialist care there is a need for more staff to provide support to vulnerable students.
“Finally we visited Tullyglass PS where we informed the Minister about their partnership with the Train 2B Smart project from former Manchester United footballer Pat McGibbon. The project does some great work in the community educating young people about fitness, mental health and resilience and needs a site of its own to operate from. There are some fantastic schools in this area and it was welcome that the Minister was able to see that for herself, aswell as how much more could be achieved with the necessary investment and support.”