Department Education reverses nurture units funding for two Irish language schools.

Press/Media: Research


This article focuses on a decision by Northern Irish ministers to reverse a decission to fund nurture group provision for two Irish medium schools in Northern Ireland. Based on the findings of the evaluation of nurture group provision report, the article expresses concern about this decision. 

Period28 Jun 2016

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleDepartment of Education reverses nurture units funding for two Irish language schools.
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletBBC News
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionThe Department of Education (DE) has overturned a decision made by the former education minister to introduce nurture units in two Irish-medium primary schools. Former education minister John O'Dowd had decided Scoil An Droichid and Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin could each run a 'nurture group' in 2016/2017.

    These groups provide extra help for young people with behavioural problems. The DE told the schools last Friday there was no money to open the units. The schools were told about Mr O'Dowd's decision in April and the units were to open in September. The two schools would have been the first Irish-medium schools funded to run them.

    Further funding was then provided by DE to enable the classes to continue.

    A recent evaluation of the classes carried out by experts from Queen's University found that they were "highly successful".

    The evaluation noted "improvements in the social, emotional and behavioural skills of children from deprived areas exhibiting significant difficulties."

    In a statement, a DE spokesperson said that they were currently funding nurture groups in 30 Primary Schools across Northern Ireland at a cost of £2.26m.

    "In April 2016 the former Education Minister decided to bring forward a one year nurture group pilot for schools in the Irish Medium sector," they said.

    "Funding could not be secured at that time and although initial engagement took place to identify two potential participants, it was made clear that the commencement of the pilot remained contingent upon securing funding."
    PersonsSeaneen Sloan, Karen Winter, Fiona Lynn, Paul Connolly