Newry pupils make the grade thanks to learning boost

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info@newrytimes.com
Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
Community
School pupils in the southern area are getting help from the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) to help them improve their GCSE grades. Thanks to a partnership with the SELB and local councils, the PHA has funded English and Mathematics programmes. Over 85% of pupils in the participating schools who were expected to achieve Grade D and availed of the additional support attained grades A*-C in English or Mathematics. Gerry Bleakney, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement with the PHA in the southern area, said, “There is a strong relationship between educational attainment levels, income and longer term health and wellbeing. “One of the PHA’s core goals is to help young people to achieve their full potential and this joint initiative has produced significant improvements for the young people participating. “Good English and Maths GCSE grades can open the door to further education and training, equipping students with knowledge and skills to make the most of their potential. “The programme does not aim to replace the teaching which takes place in schools; rather this funding is designed to complement the provision which is already in place, providing an extra boost for those pupils who might need it.” The GCSE programmes are designed to increase the proportion of year 12 pupils achieving grade C or above in English and Maths. Some of the ways that schools have supported their pupils included advice and guidance regarding stress management, study skills programmes, additional examination practice, nutritional advice, and working with parents to encourage full attendance and engagement. One school who benefited from the programme was St Mary’s High School, Newry. Principal Margo Cosgrove said, “Not only do their achievements increase but also their opportunities to avail of third level education or employment, helping them to make valuable contributions to local, national and global communities.”

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