St Patrick's & St Joseph's
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St Patrick's & St Joseph's Schools

North Derry Principal Appeal

30 Mar 2023
North Derry Primary School Principals

30 March 2023

Dear Parent/Carer

North Derry Primary Principals joint letter to parents/carers

The North Derry Primary School Principals Group met recently. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed ending of funding initiatives in their schools, the impact this will have on the children and their families and the total lack of clarity from the DE and EA.

At present we have been told, informally, that the DE are awaiting a budget to be set for Education in N. Ireland, meaning the Healthy Happy Minds Therapeutic and Counselling Initiative and the Engage III Programme will cease as of Friday 31st March 2023. The current indications are that DE will be given an extremely challenging budget outcome for 2023-24, and therefore, it is unlikely the department will be able to continue with any of these initiatives.

Our issue is that schools don’t run from April to March. We have children involved in all the initiatives at present and staff employed under these funding streams, and we are led to believe that funding will cease this Friday.

Schools have children receiving counselling as well as art therapy, play therapy, literacy, and numeracy support (through the Engage III Programme) and have yet to receive any correspondence from DE, and feel that once again our system is failing our children. The worrying aspect is that we as school leaders feel powerless to do anything about it. Without these funding streams this support will end for the children involved on Friday 31st March. This we feel will have disastrous outcomes for the children and their families.

To be one day from the end of March and now be officially informed that funding is being withdrawn is both frustrating and disrespectful to all involved.

We as primary school principals are very concerned about the ever growing, unprecedented pressures facing our schools, which will undoubtably carry into the next financial year and the potential detrimental and significant impact this could have for our children.

We would ask you to lend your voices to ours. Please contact your local MLA’s, MP, and councillors, as the situation is unacceptable and untenable for schools going forward.

We thank you in anticipation of your support.

Yours sincerely

Terry McCann


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