School Visits: Newry and Armagh

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland Assembly Commission – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 29th November 2016.

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Photo of William Irwin William Irwin DUP 3:30 pm, 29th November 2016

5. Mr Irwin asked the Assembly Commission to outline the number of visits to Parliament Buildings by schools in Newry and Armagh in the last 12 months. (AQO 806/16-21)

Photo of Stewart Dickson Stewart Dickson Alliance

I thank Mr Irwin for his question. Between 29 November 2015 and 28 November 2016, the Assembly Education Service provided programmes to 17 schools from the Newry and Armagh constituency. There were a total of 661 participants in the programmes. The Education Service delivered programmes to 15,316 young people during the period. The programmes were delivered in Parliament Buildings and in schools.

Photo of William Irwin William Irwin DUP

What is the promotional aspect involved in encouraging schools to make educational visits to the Assembly?

Photo of Stewart Dickson Stewart Dickson Alliance

The Education Service has a great deal of contact with schools right across Northern Ireland. At the beginning of every school year, it sends out letters to all schools explaining the programme and the resources available. Booking information is also available on the Education Service's website, and it tweets daily, uses social media and takes part in programmes. There is also a new subscription service available on the Assembly website that will allow teachers more direct contact.

Photo of Danny Kennedy Danny Kennedy Deputy Speaker

What additional measures could be taken to attract even more uptake to the excellent education service that is available in Parliament Buildings. Can he give a breakdown of the Newry and Armagh figures for primary and post-primary school visits?

Photo of Stewart Dickson Stewart Dickson Alliance

As I said previously, there is good contact made between all schools in Northern Ireland and the Education Service. I genuinely believe that schools are fully aware of the programme that is available, but until they avail themselves of it, they will not understand the broad extent of the work that is done.

There are 72 primary schools and 18 post-primary schools in the Newry and Armagh constituency. Of the schools that were visited during this period, three were primary schools, with 95 participants, and 14 were post-primary schools, with 566 participants. I encourage all Members to encourage schools, as and when they visit them, to participate in the Assembly's education programmes.