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Education Minister Peter Weir has praised an ‘education in the community’ programme aimed at improving educational achievement for young people.

The Minister was visiting Monkstown Boxing Club to meet pupils who have taken part in the ASPIRE programme, developed by Abbey Community College in partnership with the club. ASPIRE offers flexible learning and gives pupils access to a bespoke education plan enabling them to progress and succeed in sustained education or employment.

The Minister said: “I want to commend Monkstown Boxing Club for the work they are doing to provide children and young people, who may otherwise not get the opportunity, to fulfil their full potential in an educational setting that is best suited to their needs.

“Without the vital interventions by the club along with Abbey Community College, the young people taking part may not achieve sufficient GCSE qualifications, to enable them to progress to further education, training and employment.

“I am also personally encouraged that the initiative also clearly improves the general mental health and wellbeing of the students whilst providing them with direction and a focus.”

The Department of Education supports ASPIRE through its Wrap Programme, part of a wider cross-Executive programme through the Fresh Start Agreement.

The Minister continued: “It is clear that the ASPIRE programme also provides much needed support to the parents of the young people involved.

“I am very encouraged to see at first-hand how education in the community initiatives such as this are helping pupils to develop skills to inspire them to build a positive attitude to education that will carry through to the future.”