CCMS join NIO Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lord Caine and Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP for Lagan Valley on a to visit Saint Patrick’s Academy

CCMS join NIO Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lord Caine and Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP for Lagan Valley on a to visit Saint Patrick’s Academy

Catholic Schools are part of a global network of 60 million pupils of all faiths and none. This week pupils in Catholic Schools throughout Northern Ireland are joining with their peers to celebrate Catholic Schools Week. The annual international event highlights the outstanding contribution made by Catholic Schools, not just to their pupils and school community, but also to society in general.

The theme for this year is “Walking together in Faith and Love.” Over the course of the week of Sunday 22nd to Sunday 29th January 2023, schools will host Masses, assemblies and activities for pupils, families, parishioners, and the wider community to celebrate the importance and the holistic educational provision of Catholic Schools.

The theme for today is “Walking together to transform our world”, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) joined NIO Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lord Caine and the Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP for Lagan Valley on a to visit Saint Patrick’s Academy in Lisburn. The visit included a tour of school facilities and an opportunity for pupils to add their voice to conversations on diversity and inclusion; curriculum; and the future of education in Northern Ireland in a unique question and answer session with both representatives.

Lord Caine commented: “I had a really positive visit to St Patrick’s Academy in Lisburn today. It is wonderful to see the high quality of education available, and how schools are working to actively support integration and reconciliation as we look forward to the 25th anniversary of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement this April.

The Government is keen for young people across the UK to be engaged in the conversation around the anniversary of the Agreement and its benefits.

In December, the NIO announced that a new, free education package for young people in Northern Ireland and across the UK will be delivered by the National Archives, telling the story of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and Northern Ireland’s transformation over the last 25 years.”

Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson added: “St Patrick’s Academy is a greatly regarded school in the City of Lisburn and serves the needs of almost 600 students from a very diverse range of backgrounds.

The excellent staff at Saint Patrick’s deliver a very high standard of education, mixed with a wide variety of sporting and cultural activities that ensure the young people have a well-rounded learning experience, supported by the strong Christian ethos of St Patrick’s.”

Gerry Campbell Chief Executive of CCMS said “Catholic schools contribute to the wellbeing of the education system as a whole through the pursuit of genuine excellence whilst remaining faithful to their distinctive culture, vision and approach. This enables learners not only to realise their own personal gifts but also to value the contribution made by others.

Catholic schools are naturally inclusive and open to pupils of all faiths and none; all abilities; and all socio-economic backgrounds. Our inclusive centres of learning listen; encourage constructive dialogue and support the development of mutual understanding; on behalf of CCMS I thank Lord Caine and Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson for engaging with the pupils of St Patrick's Academy during this important week.

A diverse society is enriched by diversity in its educational provision. Catholic schools play a significant role in breaking down barriers through innovative shared education programmes and in partnership working with other schools, from all sectors.”

Catholic schools continue to build capacity to ensure every child, irrespective of religious, ethnic, cultural, or socio-economic background has equal access to reach their full potential and contribute to building a strong economy.

Pictured Left to Right at the visit are - Michael Keenan Director of Education CCMS, Vice Principal Roisin Clarke, Rt Hon Sir Jeffery Donaldson MP, NIO Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lord Caine, Gerry Campbell Chief Executive CCMS, Principal Grainne McCann, Chair of the Board of Governors Dr. Ivor Hickey, CCMS Council Member Anne Scott. Photograph by Rebecca O’Flaherty.

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