A celebration event was held this week to mark the support for a ground-breaking education initiative in Antrim and Randalstown.
The Antrim and Randalstown Schools: Moving Forward Together project is a local education, community and peace building partnership comprised of all nursery, primary, special and post-primary schools in the Antrim town and Randalstown areas,
A special plaque was presented to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey in recognition of the council’s support for the scheme.
The plaque, depicting the logos of the partnership, all 18 member schools and community partner, Community Relations In Schools (CRIS), was presented to the council in recognition of the encouragement, funding and overall support the partnership has received since its formal establishment in April 2014.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott, said: “This is a partnership that is genuinely bringing people together from all walks of life.
“It builds bridges and crosses traditional boundaries reaching out and engaging hearts and minds.
“It is hoped that the work of the partnership will continue to reach beyond the walls of the schools and into the wider community.”
Mr Philip Lavery, Chair of Moving Forward Together and Vice-Principal of Mount St Michael’s Primary School, Randalstown, added: “This event is an opportunity for all of us in Moving Forward Together to acknowledge the journey that we have been on to date and especially to acknowledge the ongoing support and encouragement that the council, and the offices of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, provide to the partnership.
“The name of the partnership says it all really - this is about us all moving forward together. And for that to happen it takes more than just one individual, organisation or school. It takes all of us - meeting, talking, learning, sharing and achieving together.
“We are delighted and encouraged that the council has been a critical part of that journey and we hope that we continue on the journey together.”
The ‘Moving Forward Together’ Partnership is a school led education and peace building initiative which seeks to provide opportunities for pupils, their families, school staff and the wider community to work, play, share and achieve together.
The partnership produces an annual programme of pupil and parent activities, shared staff training events and shared school leadership meetings.
In addition to the community and peacebuilding activities, the creation of the partnership has led to the provision of support services for children and families affected by autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia through the BIG Lottery fund Empower Project.
Other key activities include supporting the enhanced delivery of ‘Shared Education’ and council funded cross community and inter-school initiatives; shared staff training; arts, music and sports projects; and the creation of a “shared voice”.