Launch of EastSide Learning

It was billed as the ‘Start of something great’ and it was, as school principals, local politicians, community groups and government attended the launch of Eastside Learning. The EastSide Learning Partnership unveiled their plans to bring schools and communities together over the next 10 years for the benefit of children and young people in the area. 

The initiative seeks to support children at the earliest possible stage; enable parents to be more involved in their children’s education; ensure our young people leave school with the skills they need to prosper; and make certain our schools are fit for purpose and accessible to their local community

The launch event was also a chance for several local schools to showcase their musical and creative talents; the Ashfield Boys’ High School Wind Band provided some welcoming music and the 60 strong Elmgrove Primary School choir charmed the audience. Ashfield Girls’ High School injected some comedy to the event with their modern twist on the musical ‘Annie’.

Jo McColgan, Principal of Ashfield Boys’ High School, said:

 “I find it incredibly exciting to see so many interested parties coming together to look at how we can provide the best opportunities and the best education for all the people in east Belfast.”

Maggie Andrews from East Belfast Partnership, responsible for establishing EastSide Learning welcomed the energy at the event and urged everyone to get behind this innovative and exciting development. 

John O’Dowd, the Minister for Education, welcomed the new initiative: “Eastside Learning Partnership is an excellent example of a community-led education project. It is clear that the partnership has buy-in from stakeholders, right across the community – teachers, elected representatives, businesses, community groups and, crucially, families and young people.”

“Parental and family involvement can have a hugely positive impact on a child’s learning, from the early years, through pre-school and primary school and on to post-primary school and all the important choices young people make in each phase of their education. The Eastside Learning Partnership will help encourage and promote parents’ involvement and it will also strengthen links between the local community and the schools in the area.”

“I commend the East Belfast Partnership on getting the project off the ground and wish everyone involved the very best as they work to deliver even better educational outcomes for young people in east Belfast.”




The EastSide Learning Partnership was established in 2014 to promote partnership working between schools and the community in east Belfast and agree a strategic direction for education in this part of the city.  This will drive a plan for improving the education offer in east Belfast; to benefit all those interested in improving education and learning outcomes for children and young people in the area.

The Framework and its accompanying plan of action have been produced as an outcome of a number of meetings and workshops with key stakeholders in the education sector, the community, and the political sphere.  The group also received advice and information on projects being developed elsewhere in Belfast.  Throughout this process the focus has been on exploring those issues that are impacting negatively on the effectiveness of education across the area; for schools, teachers, parents and children.

Five priority areas for our activity have been identified, all of which we feel are at the heart of improving the education experience for all children and young people in east Belfast. They acknowledge our shared principles and values and will be the reference point for the first stage of our work over the coming years.


The Framework is for the period 2015 – 2025 because we believe that it will need this time to deliver the long term impacts that we outline. We will develop rolling implementation plans that will describe the actions necessary to deliver our shared outcomes and measure their effectiveness. 

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