Sinn Féin education spokesperson Pat Sheehan has called on the Education Minister to extend the Engage programme beyond this academic year into 2021/2022.
The West Belfast MLA said:
“The Engage programme is designed to address the impact of COVID-19 in terms of lost learning and provides for additional qualified teachers, enabling schools to provide child-centred one-to-one, small group or team-teaching supports for pupils most in need.
“The break in face-to-face learning, although necessary to protect wider public health at this time, is no substitute for classroom learning.
“By putting plans in place now to extend the Engage programme the Minister can give those families whose children may be at risk of falling further behind due confidence that they will be supported and lost learning time will be recovered.
“I am calling on the Education Minister Peter Weir to recognise the impact that the unprecedented disruption to education this year is having on students and to be proactive by ensuring the Engage Programme is carried over into the next academic year.”