Schools remain in dark over whether coaching programme will return

The coaching scheme was delivered to thousands of pupils over the last decade

SCHOOLS remain in the dark over whether a popular GAA coaching scheme for children will return next year.

The Curriculum Sports Programme, which involves Gaelic and soccer coaches visiting primary schools, came to an end this year.

It had been operating for a decade and thousands of children have taken part.

While money ran out in October, the Department of Education said the scheme could return in 2019/20 should funding be available.

Representatives of the GAA and Irish Football Association met department permanent secretary Derek Baker this week to discuss future plans.

SDLP sports spokesman Justin McNulty, who also attended, expressed disappointment at "the lack of clarity".

"After months of defending the need for this programme, I am disappointed we have failed to come any closer to having the programme reinstated in our schools across the north," he said.

"The Curriculum Sports Programme has been fundamental to the physical and mental development of the primary school children that have went through it over the last decade, and it is absolutely shameful its value is not shared by all."

Sinn Féin MLA Sinéad Ennis has also urged the department to reverse its decision to cut the scheme.

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