Save Killyleagh Outdoor Education Centre
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Killyleagh Outdoor Education Centre is situated on the western shore of Strangford Lough (designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and of Scientific Interest) on the periphery of Killyleagh town, the Centre commands a spectacular view over the Lough and the surrounding area. Here, as you would expect, the location encourages water activities based on the Lough with sailing being a key feature of the programme.
As a Royal Yachting Association Recognised Training Centre, Killyleagh offers an ideal venue for those groups wishing to gain their first experience in one of the water related activities with sailing, canoeing and power boating being the more popular activity choices with visiting groups. There is also plenty of opportunity to participate in many of the other activities associated with a residential visit which enhances teamwork and respect for one's peers and the environment in which we live.
The centre aims to provide a safe environment where children and young people experience adventurous and challenging programmes based appropriately on the learning outcomes identified in the Northern Ireland Youth Curriculum. The centre has placed an appropriate focus on developing further the learning opportunities presented by the increasing number of sources of renewable energy within the local environment.
During the centre’s last inspection by the Education Training Inspectorate, the centre was described as having an excellent ethos and the effective working relationships within the centre, effective collaborative planning that meets the needs of the learners. They also stated that the centre facilitated the good progress made by the children and the young people in developing their skills, knowledge and understanding of themselves in the outdoor environment; with, the positive outcomes in terms of enhanced personal and social development, self-confidence and self-esteem for the majority of the users.
Today in an announcement by the Education Authority, staff at Killyleagh OEC were informed that as of the end of March 2018 the centre would cease to operate in its current capacity. The centre will instead be used as a base for Education Other Than At School. Which effectively means the centre will no longer provide outdoor education facilities, all staff and resources will be redeployed elsewhere. Schools and youth groups will no longer be able to book into the centre to support their curriculum delivery. Please support keeping this centre open on its current site which is the only centre in the locality to have slipway access to the lough which would enable it to offer specialist water based activities with ease.
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