Donegal ETB has appointed a team of staff to support the education needs of children from Ukraine arriving in Co Donegal and to help families to find a school place.
Ms Rosaleen Harkin is the new Donegal Regional Education and Language Team (REALT) Coordinator and Mr Lochlainn McCool has been appointed as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Schools Support Officer.
The REALT team, with Ms Liz Potter as administrator, supports the county coordinating group which oversees this work and is hosted by Donegal ETB. Rosaleen and Lochlainn replace Eamonn Ryan and Vivienne Doherty who were in post during the last year.
The REALT works with families from Ukrainian and primary and post-primary school Principals and communities to locate school places, providing relevant information as well as signposting to supports across the system.
The team ensures that clear, accessible information flows are in place between schools, local education support services and national support structures in relation to Ukrainian arrivals to Co Donegal.
Rosaleen, who is from the Creeslough area, has previously held roles with responsibility for Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer as well as Health and Safety Coordinator in Donegal ETB. As part of these previous roles, Rosaleen has built up an extensive network of contacts within schools.
Speaking about her appointment, Rosaleen said, ‘’I am passionate about this role and want to make a difference in helping Ukrainian families with their educational needs. I know from my previous work in schools that there is a very inclusive approach to education throughout Donegal. I am looking forward to working with all the different agencies and stakeholders.’’
Culdaff resident Lochalinn McCool has worked in Donegal ETB’s Youthreach programme for early school leavers (Further Education and Training (FET) Service) in Buncrana and Glengad as an Advocate advising on education and training options. This role has given Lochlainn an in-depth understanding of the Irish education system, as well as a good knowledge of community development.
Speaking about his appointment, Lochlainn said, ‘’I am looking forward to joining the REALT team here in Donegal. I want to make a valuable contribution to the work and I am eager to see the impact of our efforts in helping Ukrainian children settle in the community, through school attendance. I have always had a strong community involvement and I have a genuine interest in this type of work ‘’
In congratulating Rosaleen and Lochlainn on their appointments, Donegal ETB’s Director of Schools, Dr Martin Gormley stated; ‘’I am delighted to welcome both Rosaleen and Lochlainn to our REALT team. They both bring a wealth of experience and skills that will greatly benefit the work of REALT. I am confident that Rosaleen and Lochlainn will make valuable contributions and help further develop the work. I look forward to working with them as they build on the previous work by Eamonn Ryan and Vivienne Doherty.
At the start of this year there were 752 Ukrainian students in primary schools and 405 Ukrainian students in post-primary schools across Co Donegal.
Rosaleen and Lochlainn take up their appointments immediately.