A west Belfast primary school has received a prestigious award to recognise excellence in tackling barriers to learning.
St Joseph’s PS, Slate Street was awarded the Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award by the Nurture Group Network. The school is one of 11 in the Belfast area that use ‘nurture units’ to help address barriers to learning and underachievement among children arising from social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.
St Joseph’s PS principal Mairead Weir said the impact of the school’s nurture room could “not be underestimated”.
“The purpose of the nurture room is to give support to small groups of children to help them overcome the challenges that were hindering them from accessing the curriculum or reaching their full potential,” said Miss Weir.
“It’s more than just a room or about focussing on small groups of children, it’s about quality pastoral provision that has changed the mindset of the whole school community. The impact cannot be underestimated.”
Miss Weir also paid tribute to St Joseph’s nurture teacher Ciara Quinn and assistant Frances Wilson.
The Marjorie Boxall Award is presented to schools which demonstrate exemplary practice in supporting a range of pupil needs in nurture groups. The award was presented by Kevin Kibble, Chief Executive of Nurture Group Network.
"This award celebrates the success of what nurture brings to children. Our standards to achieve this award are exacting and many congratulations are due to the staff and pupils at St Joseph’s. They should be extremely proud of what they have achieved,” said Mr Kibble.
Education Authority nurture officer Brenda Martin congratulated the school on the achievement: “Nurture groups provide short-term, focussed interventions to children who face barriers to learning. The Marjorie Boxall Award is judged against rigorous criteria and I congratulate the entire school community at St Joseph’s PS on this fantastic achievement.”