Wednesday, 21 February 2018
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Christmas & New Year 2017

As primary school children and teachers look forward to nativity plays, carol services and end-of-term parties, we take a peek at what else pupils have been getting up since September…

Danny Bartley (P5) from Holy Cross Primary School in Atticall, Co. Down, was the lucky winner of the British Airway's ‘Kids Fly Free’ colouring-in competition which featured in the September issue of Ni4kids. Class teacher, Mrs Joanne Norris, said that they were ‘absolutely delighted’ to receive the prize of a £250 Apple Store gift card for their school and Danny was given a £50 shopping voucher to treat himself to a special gift this Christmas. The competition was launched to celebrate the start of the new school year and promote British Airway’s partnership with George Best Belfast City Airport with the fantastic offer of free flights for up to two children until October 31, 2017 on flights between Belfast and Heathrow. Almost 3,000 entries soared into Ni4kids HQ from primary schools across the country and Danny and his school were certainly flying high after hearing about their big win.

Pictured: (L to R) Acting Principal Mrs Charlene Sloan, Class teacher
Mrs Joanne Norris, Danny Bartley and Danny's Mum, Mrs Catherine Bartley.

Former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell paid a visit to pupils in East Belfast as part of the BookTrust NI author tour to help inspire a love of reading amongst local primary school students. Riddell, the author of the Goth Girl series, shared stories, illustrations and sketches in a workshop with ninety P5 pupils from Elmgrove Primary School. Each student was also given their very own personally signed copy of a Chris Riddell book of their choice. The tour, organised by BookTrust the children's reading charity, was supported by Arts Council Northern Ireland Lottery Fund to help young children develop a love of reading and books. Chris said: “I had a wonderful visit to Northern Ireland, full of highlights. Talking and drawing with the children was a pleasure made even more memorable by encountering a view of the Green Way with the cranes in the distance framed by mountains. I also loved meeting Aslan, the Witch, and Mr. Tumnus in C.S.Lewis Square and talking with literacy co-ordinators in the beautiful centre overlooking it. A big thank you to Book Trust NI, the Arts Council and Queen's University for hosting me.”

Mollie and Emilia, pupils at Abbey Primary School in Newtownards, are just two of thousands of children who took up NI Chest Heart and Stroke’s Ready Set Summer Challenge supported by MACE and the National Trust which encouraged kids to have fun and get active over the summer holidays. The campaign was the result of research which revealed that three-quarters of children in Northern Ireland do not get the recommended 60 minutes activity each day. Research also shows that instilling good exercise habits early in life can lead to major health benefits throughout adulthood. As part of the campaign Mollie and Emilia undertook a range of fun filled activities and won a picnic lunch for the whole family at the beautiful National Trust property The Argory in Moy.
Pictured: From left: Ruth McClurg, National Trust, and Victoria Ross, NI Chest Heart and Stroke with Mollie Donnachie (8), Emilia Donnachie (5) & Caleb Donnachie (2).

A unique exhibition celebrating 35 years of integrated education in Northern Ireland was held in the Ulster Museum. Entitled ‘The Big Small Stories Exhibition’ and hosted by The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), the two-day event featured displays, stories and performances from the 65 Integrated schools across Northern Ireland. It was a key part of an overall heritage project designed to tell the relatively unknown story of the development of Integrated Education in Northern Ireland and its contribution to peace building and reconciliation here.
With support and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), engagement with the Integrated schools across Northern Ireland as well as the founders and supporters of integrated education, ‘The Big Small Stories’ project aims to capture, record and archive the memories and experiences of the people behind the foundation and development of integrated schools across Northern Ireland.
Caption: Roisin Marshall, NICIE CEO, author Tony Macaulay, Sharon Archer, HLF NI with Oliver McGreevy (9) and Eva Fusco (9) from Millennium IPS. 

A group of business volunteers from leading Northern Ireland companies have joined forces to support pupils and teachers across the Greater Belfast area to explore the art of computer coding as part of a new education initiative called Time to Code. It aims to help children at Key Stage 2 Level gain IT and coding skills, build their confidence, and develop their team working and problem solving abilities. The programme is supported by Belfast Harbour in the Greater Belfast Area and BT in the North West. Ciara Mulgrew, Programme Executive, Business in the Community, explains: “In today’s digital age, IT literacy is so important. Through working closely with our member companies, we identified a real need to help improve tech literacy in local schools and also to inspire young people to want to develop skills in this area.”

“All Equal, All Different, All Together” was the clear message from the winners of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week creative arts competition, which were announced at a special awards ceremony at Belfast City Hall in November. The annual creative arts competition, which attracted over 2,000 entries this year, has always been a significant focal point for Anti-Bullying Week (13-17 November 2017). This year’s theme of “All Equal, All Different, All Together” aims to support schools and youth organisations to celebrate difference and diversity across Northern Ireland; bring children and young people together to celebrate what makes them and others unique; and help create welcoming, respectful, kind and inclusive environments both off and online for children and young people. Primary school category winners in 2017 were Class P4M of Killowen Primary School, Lisburn,
and St John’s Primary School, Dernaflaw, Dungiven.

Caption: Pupils from Killowen PS celebrate their win in the 1-4 Year category.

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