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Department of Education defends spending £160k on advertising campaign

Heather McCollum and son Ronan at the launch of Helping Hand

THE Department of Education has defended spending £160,000 on an advertising campaign at a time when the system is under severe financial pressure.

Parents, carers and extended family are being urged to support their children's education through the Helping Hand campaign.

Schools, the Education Authority and department itself have highlighted budget pressures. The department, however, said a previous campaign Education Works achieved its goal of increasing parental involvement.

About four in 10 parents said they were more likely to get involved after watching the ads.

Launching the new campaign, department permanent secretary Derek Baker said education opened up a world of opportunities for children.

"Parental involvement and encouragement plays an essential part, from the very early years through to the vital exam stages," he said.

"Read to them from an early age; show an interest in their day at school; talk to them about their homework; and help them make the decisions now that will shape them into the adults they will become in the future.

"Parental engagement with children is a strong indicator of educational success. Children need their parents to actively support them to fulfil their potential and to deliver the best possible outcomes for all of the young people of Northern Ireland."

:: Parents and carers are encouraged to visit http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/helping-hand for help and advice.

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