Blow to pupils and new teachers as literacy and numeracy project scrapped
A scheme which offered two years of work to newly-qualified teachers and helped pupils struggling with English and maths is not being renewed because of a lack of funding.
The Literacy and Numeracy Signature Programme created the equivalent of 270 extra full-time teaching posts and cost £16m.
It helped 19,000 pupils in around 300 selected primary and post-primary schools.
Education Minister John O'Dowd said it was "disappointing" the scheme could not continue.
The programme began at the start of the 2013 school year, with £14m funding from OFMDFM topped up with £2m from the Department of Education.
As a result, schools where some pupils were struggling to reach basic standards in English and maths were provided with an extra member of staff.
Only newly-qualified teachers could apply for the new two-year posts.
Holy Cross Boys' Primary School in north Belfast was among the schools to benefit from the scheme, gaining one new teacher.
Vice-principal Chris Donnelly said that this had made a big difference to pupils.
"In this school two years ago, we had 68% of our children at level four in maths and English at the end of primary xeven," he told the BBC.
"After one year of signature, we went up to 74% and this year we are recording 80%, which is a significant leap."