‘Every pupil benefits from unit’s funding’ says Rathcoole head

RATHCOOLE Primary School principal welcomed an announcement from the education minister that his school is to receive share of a £1million investment for its nurture unit.

The school’s nurture unit caters for small groups of children in the school environment and helps address barriers to learning arising from social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.

The unit holds up to 16 children and each receive tutition based on their needs. Children can use the unit at various different periods, for varying lenghts of time throughout the school term.

School principal Quinton Crean said: “The unit makes a huge difference socially, emotionally and academically to those children which use it.

“It provides extra support for pupils, encouraging and motivating them to enable them to re-integrate back into the mainstream and it has proven very positive.

“By providing a teaching environment for small groups of pupils, the unit enables all the school to beneift, not just those that access the unit.

“This investment is extremely welcome and we are very pleased the unit can continue for the long term.”

Funding had been previously put in place by the Department of Social Development. This week’s announcement is part of the Delivering Social Change Signature Project announced by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in October.

Education minister John O’Dowd said: “Nurture units provide short-term, focussed interventions to children who are facing barriers to learning.

“Nurture units can play a key role in tackling under-achievement early in a child’s life by providing targeted support to where it is most needed.

“Given the pressures on the education budget, I have targeted these resources to areas of greatest social need. This funding will not only ensure children continue to benefit from the intervention, it will also ensure that the experience gained by these schools can contribute to the development of the Signature Project and can help shape future policy in this area.”