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Education Minister holds first pupil press conference

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Eight pupils from schools across Northern Ireland have taken part in a virtual press conference this morning with the Education Minister, Peter Weir.

The schools represented a cross-section of post-primary education in Northern Ireland.

Pupils had the opportunity to ask the Minister questions about the Covid-19 crisis and the impact on the education sector.

Peter Weir said: “As Education Minister I would regularly visit schools and talk to pupils and teachers about the issues they are facing.

“These opportunities have been much more limited during the current pandemic and with so many meetings taking place online, it seemed an ideal opportunity to allow for pupils to ask questions and to hear their views. I have always tried, where possible, to have as much direct engagement with stakeholders in the education sector and who better to listen to than those actually experiencing it.”

The Minister was questioned on a range of issues including examinations, mental health, transport and plans for schools reopening.

Concluding, Peter Weir said: “I was highly impressed this morning by both the range and depth of questioning. In fact we may have some future political journalists in the making.

“This is the first virtual press conference with students and, given its success today, I intend to hold further press conferences using this format whilst social distancing prevents face-to-face meetings.

“I want to thank the principals who helped make this press conference happen and for their continuing work in coordinating remote learning and preparing for the reopening of schools after the summer term.”

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