Training With West Belfast Partnership Board  – and Learning About the Innovative Sharing the Learning Programme (November 2017)

Hi everyone, I love my job. I don’t love all the paperwork, office working, employing other people, the relentless travelling and suitcases… but I really love meeting the children and the adults in education. I have struck lucky again, I have just met Angie Mervyn from the West Belfast Partnership Board who has set up a very interesting model of working.

The programme is a community model called “Sharing the Learning Programme” – putting education at the heart of regeneration. (You can read all about this programme by clicking to download a paper HERE, although there are a few snippets here below too.)

Sharing the Learning Programme – “Education at the Heart of Regeneration”

West Belfast has it’s fair share of social and economic-related issues – with 70% of areas of highest deprivation in North of Ireland, with areas of social deprivation ranked numbers 1,2 & 3 in West Belfast. Child poverty is high at 41.1% for 0-15yr olds, whereas the NI average is 22.1%. The average lifespan is 8 years shorter in West Belfast compared to living in a more affluent area and educational outcomes at GCSE level are much reduced compared to the average in NI.

“There is a long established pattern which acknowledges poverty as presenting barriers to children’s education, which means that they enter post primary school with lower than average attainment and dealing with social and economic problems that inhibit their learning. It is understood that a proven route out of poverty is quality education and, in the light of the most recent report into child poverty which highlighted west Belfast as having the highest levels of child poverty, the West Belfast Partnership Board (WBPB) strategic and operational plan identifies education as a top priority area to be addressed if we are to improve the life chances of children, young people and their families and develop sustainable social and economic neighbourhood regeneration and renewal.”

So, with education as a key priority, the Sharing the Learning Programme addresses achievement in a connected way with a focus on 

  • Transition points throughout a child’s educational journey
  • Strategic Planning – using a strategic education plan for WBPB
  • Quality Assurance: Development of evidence based self-evaluation process

Strategic Education Priorities for 2015-2019 were identified to be:

  1. Structural development to influence educational change
  2. West Belfast wide Strategic Education Plan – DE priorities and those of local Education community
  3. Communications

This community model has so far been so effective at raising attainment and addressing the poverty gap that Angie has been asked to set up this model in other areas. Last year West Belfast was 0.2% above the NI average for the first time ever when GCSE attainment was measured for students attaining 5 GSCEs including Maths and English.

I am very pleased to say that the training day was also a great success. The children were fabulous, as were the delegates. The training took place in St Oliver Plunkett Primary School and there were 121 people enrolled for the day, with a mixture of Nursery School staff, Primary One teachers and community staff too.

Many thanks to Angie and the West Belfast Partnership Board Committee for inviting me over to meet with you all. Angie has developed this West Belfast Education Plan herself and I really look forward to hearing updates on this exciting work.

Looks like a whispering game to me! Jenny is demonstrating Circle Time with early years pupils – staff delegates are observing at West Belfast Partnership Board training day November 2017


Website Managers Notes

1. Jenny Mosley’s training and conferences for schools and early years settings is renowned for being fun, informative and practical. Contact us for Early Years Training, Circle Time for Early Years, Positive Behaviour Training and Lunchtime Supervisor Training

2. Jenny’s webshop and catalogue hold a unique collection of Early Years resources including the best-selling Golden Rules Box Set and a lovely collection of both human and animal puppets.

3. Jenny’s lunchtimes training days and workshops are sought after – INSET days – for lunchtime supervisors to playground games and much more, Jenny helps Midday Supervisors and Lunchtime Supervisors to help develop their practice. For enquiries about training in early years settings and schools please phone 01225 767157 or email

4. For all other training enquiries – including our open conferences popular, held throughout the country through the year, please phone us –  Behaviour for Learning, training for health and wellbeing and circle time workshops as well as training for working with parents as partners and more, Click Here or phone 01225 767157 or email