Local MLA to lead cross-party meeting on schools’ coaching scheme

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Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty  is to meet David Sterling, Head of the Civil Service to discuss the future of the Curriculum Sports Programme in local primary schools. 

He has asked a representative of all other political parties in the Assembly to join him.



Speaking to Newry Times, McNulty explained, “The Curriculum Sports Programme is delivered in primary schools across the North by Ulster GAA and the IFA.

“School Principals and sports clubs alike are telling me how valuable this programme is in encouraging participation in physical activity and team sports. This programme is about much more than sport as it encourages a healthy active lifestyle and helps to develop positive character traits for life.

“This week I met with Patrick Nelson, Chief Executive of the IFA and I have previously met with Brian McAvoy of Ulster GAA. The Curriculum Sports Programme has being jointly delivered by the IFA and Ulster GAA for almost ten years now and has been an outstanding success.



“50 full time coaches help encourage 40,000 primary school children annually to adopt and enjoy a healthy lifestyle through participation in sports,” he continued.

The programme has been funded by the Department of Education and was due for renewal in April. With no Executive in place and no budgets agreed, these jobs were under threat.

“Following a meeting I had with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education Derek Baker, and representatives of Ulster GAA, funding was extended and secured for the posts up to 31st October 2017.  However, Ulster GAA and the IFA have now been told the programme will end at that point.

“On Tuesday I will lead a delegation of Assembly Members from across the political parties to meet with David Sterling the Head of the Civil Service. This is too important an issue and I am pleased that other parties have accepted my invitation to meet with Mr Sterling on Tuesday. 



He added, “We should all unite to save these jobs and more importantly save a vital sports coaching programme for children in schools right across the North.”

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