Welcoming the new funding the Minister said: “I welcome today’s launch of the £16.6m Engage II programme which will undoubtedly help to limit any long-term impact of the disruption caused by Covid-19 on educational standards. Crucially it will support pupils’ learning and engagement, along with their social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing after what has been a very difficult time for all our children and young people.”
Developed in consultation with school leaders and representatives of the education sector, it builds on the first year of the Engage programme, which ran in primary and post-primary schools during the last academic year along with a parallel scheme in Special schools.
The Minister highlighted a number of significant changes based on the experiences gained in the first year of Engage: “The rollout of Engage over the last year has provided important learning for those delivering the programme and I am pleased to announce the extension of the range of educational settings so that support is provided beyond primary and post-primary schools.
“Special schools, EOTAS centres, funded pre-school education settings (nursery units, nursery schools and non-statutory pre-school education settings which participate in the Pre-School Education Programme) will also now be included in the Engage II programme.
“I am also pleased to announce that funding this year will include an additional £545,000 for GCSE mathematics support. This aims to limit any long-term adverse impact of the pandemic on educational standards by supporting pupils’ learning and engagement through provision of high quality one to one, small group or team teaching support and high quality resources. CCEA will also be providing examination supports for GCSE Maths during the coming weeks.”
Commenting on how funding can be used, the Minister continued: “Working closely with pupils, settings will ensure the programme meets the needs of those children and young people who are in the greatest need and will benefit most from the support provided to maximise the positive experience for all.
Concluding the Minister said: “Engage II represents an important opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of our children and young people who have been most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. I hope you will join with me in making the Engage II programme a success in the forthcoming academic year.”