Young People and Parents from Bushmills joined representatives from the voluntary and statutory agencies, local schools and political representatives recetly to celebrate education over the decades.
The event opened with a short video showcasing some ‘selfies’ from the village and a chat with some local people about what life was like for them in Bushmills when they were young.
Bushmills Residents and Environmental Forum (BREF) started the Bushmills Education Partnership over three years ago with members now including parents, local primary schools, Dunluce School, the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership (CYPSP), EA Youth Service, Surestart, local youth groups and Corrymeela. This group is open to all representatives in the community interested in working together to improve education outcomes for local young people.
The event was compered by Liz McAlveen and included performances from Club 8-14, Bushmills PS, Dunluce School and Straidbilly PS. Minister Mervyn Storey was the first person to be interviewed on the sofa about his experience of education. Dalriada Rural Sure Start created a beautiful play space for children and their families exploring favourite books and characters and creating a oolourful sea mosaic against the wall.
Alastair Donaghy from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers brought strategic context and experience to tackling educational underachievement and highlighted some of the issues facing many working class Protestant communities. He congratulated the Bushmills Education Partnership on their work and approach.
Michelle Knight McQuillan, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Council, presented awards to Trader of the Year 2015 to SamS and Dunluce School Teacher of the Year 2015 Miss Stewart. Michelle Maguire, EA Youth Service also used the session to present certificates to local adults who had completed trainee adult leader qualifications to allow them to volunteer in local youth programmes. David Loughry, retiring after 35 years of service to Dunluce and Bushmills, was thanked for his work.