Education news

New initiative helps north Belfast schools reduce risks of suspensions

Programme director Belinda Logan

A NEW programme is helping schools identify and design solutions aimed at reducing the risk of suspensions.

Right to Succeed has launched its Reach initiative in north Belfast.

The charity works with schools, local and national partners to help young people in areas of disadvantage thrive in education and into adulthood.

Reach will be delivered across primary and secondary schools in north Belfast over a three-year period. Pupils will sit at the centre of the initiative, helping to shape understanding of their evolving needs and the appropriate responses. Its hoped significant numbers will demonstrate improved attendance, behaviour, achievement and a visible re-engagement with learning.

The charity said the impact of suspension could be pronounced and long lasting for the child, having permanent and negative implications on their education.

It is hoped Reach will support schools in having greater confidence to deal with the complex needs of pupils at risk.

Programme director Belinda Logan said in many cases, suspensions could be prevented through early intervention.

"Supporting schools, through a process of developing their own initiatives whilst at the same time bringing successfully evaluated partners to support children and schools, can ensure that the needs of those pupils at greatest risk can be met," she said.

Reach has been made possible with support from the Big Lottery Fund.

Julie Harrison from Big Lottery Fun Northern Ireland Chair, said Right to Succeed was putting children and young people at the heart of its work, supporting them to achieve their full potential.

"We're proud to be funding this project, where people have come together to identify an important issue and take steps to tackle it," she said.

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