A programme to help disadvantaged children catch up with learning lost during the coronavirus lockdown has been extended to include funded pre-schools, special schools, and Education Otherwise Than At School settings.
An additional £16 million will be provided for the Engage 2 programme as part of the extension following on from the £11.2m in funding allocated to the Engage programme by Education Minister Peter Weir in June.
Mr Weir said he recognises the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the education of children and young people and said the initial Engage programme helped schools provide child centred one-to-one and small group support to certain pupils.
"School leaders have personally reflected to me, and I have witnessed first hand, the success of the first Engage programme and that is why we are both extending and widening it,” he said.
“I am pleased to announce that more than £16m will now be allocated for the period from September 2021 to March 2022. This further significant investment will support even more education settings to take advantage of this incredibly valuable programme that delivers where it should, in the classroom,” he said.
Peter Weir will soon be replaced by Michelle McIlveen as Education Minister. This will be the second year of Engage which has been developed in liaison with representatives of the education sector.
Mr Weir said: “Educational settings will have more autonomy next year to use a broader range of staff to deliver the programme; offer activities outside the normal school day and to bring in third parties to deliver activities.
“In addition, settings will also have the flexibility to spend Engage 2 funding on materials and equipment to support the delivery of the programme,” he said.