Primary School Heads from Dromore, Kinallen and Dromara were among those who gathered in Moira last week to meet the First Minister.
Dromore Central Primary School’s Linda Allen, Fair Hill Primary School’s Jim Brown and Dromara Primary School’s Andrew Armstrong joined principals from across Lagan Valley at Moira Primary, where the DUP’s Arlene Foster first met Key Stage Two pupils.
The three were able to discuss with the First Minister the difficulties facing education in areas including funding and resources.
Dromore High School’s Ian McConaghey was unable to attend to to a school inspection.
The long planned meeting was at the behest of Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale.
“I was delighted,” she said, “when the First Minister agreed to come to Moira PS and not only meet the Key Stage Two pupils but also the principals from Lagan Valley.
“This event was weeks in the planning and I must thank Mrs Carol Mairs, principal of Moira PS and the principal of Dromara PS, Mr Andrew Armstrong, for all the work that was needed behind the scenes.
“Over the last five years I have worked closely with many of the Lagan Valley principals and it was important to me that the First Minister heard their concerns around funding, special educational needs and resources.”
Mrs Foster, meanwhile, said of the visit: “Whilst it was wonderful to hear the children serenade me with ‘Truly Scrumptious’ and receive a really warm welcome - it was during my meeting with the principals from the locality that we considered some of the difficulties facing education.
“I love school visits, as children ask the simplistic yet tough questions.
“At almost every school a child will ask me why I’m a politician?
“My answer is always the same. We’ve a great country of which I am immensely proud. I want you to grow up here, get a job here, raise your family here and I want you to be as proud of Northern Ireland as I am.
“School visits focus our mind on the next generation. I always leave schools feeling more motivated to lead this country forward.
“When I was growing up it wasn’t a nice place. There were no tourists or open top buses. I’m glad things have changed but we’ve so much more to do.”