Northern Ireland news

Pupils hold mini-Euros as part of shared education project

Pupils from four schools take part in the north Belfast `Euros' shared education project. Picture by Mal McCann

Football fever gripped north Belfast yesterday as school pupils from different sectors enjoyed a European championship-themed shared education project.

The north Belfast `Euros' involved four schools - one Catholic, one state, one Irish language and one integrated.

Pupils from Holy Cross Boys', Seaview PS, Cliftonville Integrated PS and Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagain took part at the event at Cliftonville's Solitude ground.

The tournament was part of a wider shared schools initiative devised by Chris Donnelly, vice-principal of Holy Cross.

Eight teams all included two players from the four participating schools and all children were awarded a certificate at the end of the event. Cliftonville and Crusaders sent players to take training drills and referee the matches.

It is hoped it can become an annual event with Crusaders hosting it at Seaview in 2017.

A sports enthusiast, Mr Donnelly produced a European Championship numeracy and literacy booklet for schools to celebrate the Republic and Northern Ireland teams qualifying for the summer tournament in France.

The 16-page booklet was a "labour of love", Mr Donnelly said.

As well as maths, English and geography exercises, it contains a historical overview of Ireland's first ever international win, which occurred at the `Cricky' fields in north Belfast in 1887.

"All schools have had the European Championships numeracy and literacy booklet for the past few months and classes in upper Key Stage 2 have been using it," Mr Donnelly said.

"The workbook is a key element as it is about utilising topical issues and events for the purposes of advancing teaching and learning. Football is a great incentive, and the approach of using the two Irish international sides as the focus for the booklet was about enhancing understanding, mutual respect and availing of the opportunity which presented itself to support children's learning in a divided society."

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