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Building friendships that will last a lifetime

Pictured beside one of the storyboards that the children completed during their Shared Education Programme are Ryan Devine, Aoibheann McGill, Faustina Gibson, Alex Thomas and Daithi Devine. DR49

Children from the Dunamangh area have been reaping the benefits of an ambitious shared education programme worth over £90,000.

As part of an five year project pupils from Donemana PS, St Patrick’s PS, St Joseph’s PS, Altishane PS and Loughash PS have been getting to know each other through an engaging literary based project and a variety of other activities.

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With the overall aim of exposing pupils to one and other to forge lasting relationships, the pupils Wind and the Willows inspired artwork was celebrated at a special event in one of the schools on Tuesday.

Speaking at the showcase, principal of Altishane PS, Geraldine Conwell extended her praise to pupils for their engagement with the programme.

“As a teacher involved in the project, it is incredible to see how well students have participated.” she said. “Overall, staff were impressed by how quickly the pupils became comfortable with each other and the friendships that were evidently made. The pupils have reaped many benefits and we are looking forward to sustaining this over the next five years.”

As a project designed to build a culture of good relations within the community, local clergy were equally impressed by the pupil’s participation

“Seeing shared education in action is very reassuring,” said Church of Ireland Minister Rev Robin Stockitt. “
As vice chair of Donemana Primary School’s governing body, I am delighted to see pupils enjoying such a carefully constructed programme that offers something for every year group.

“Overall, funding worth £19,000 per year has been secured for five years to ensure the longevity of the project. Without this it simply couldn’t happen, and it is clear all the schools are looking forward to seeing the lasting benefits of the project.”

Likewise Fr Eamon McDevitt was happy the project gave pupils the opportunity to reconnect with each other.

“Many of these children would have got to know each other in nursery, so the project allows them to rekindle these friendships. I am in no doubt these friendships will last a lifetime.”

Following the success of The Wind and the Willows Project, 2018 will see regular engagement between the five schools and more activities to promote equality.

Those interested in the work of the project can visit www.dunamanaghsharededucation.com.

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