Lisneal Principal: Keep graduate project going

Lisneal College Principal, David Funston
Lisneal College Principal, David Funston

A literacy and numeracy project that has reaped dividends in local schools is likely to continue, despite recent concerns over funding.

Lisneal College Principal David Funston has expressed concern that a ‘signature project’ for improving numeracy and literacy, which he said has led to an improvement in GCSE results, would soon come to an end.

However, Foyle DUP MLA Maurice Devenney said that after raising the issue at Stormont on behalf of local schools he is hopeful that the project will continue.

The signature project on literacy and numeracy was announced in October 2012 and involved the employment of out-of-work graduate teachers to help with tuition of children struggling to achieve the necessary standards expected in Northern Ireland.

After concern from, amongst others, Lisneal Principal David Funston, DUP MLA Maurice Devenney raised the issue at Stormont.

His query was answered by Junior Minister Jennifer McCann, who said: “We are looking in the budget to continue that project in this and in the next financial year.” She later added: “When we put in place something that works and is beneficial to young children, schools and children’s educational needs, we need to make sure that it is continued.”

Mr Devenney said that he was pleased to hear the project is likely to continue.

“It was a very good response that I received”, he said. “First of all, I have to welcome the news of the possibility of this funding being extended for another year.

“This will be vital funding for post primary and primary schools in the local area and for improving numeracy and literacy. It is also very good news to hear from the Minister that this has been a very successful project for the local schools. There was some concern from schools locally here that the funding was coming to an end. The had contacted me about the issue so I decided to raise their concerns at the highest level and I am pleased to be able to report back with some good news.”