McIlveen announces 16 new Nurture Groups for primary schools

Date published: 01 March 2022

A further investment of over £3million will be made this year to establish 16 new Nurture Groups across Northern Ireland.

Sixteen new Nurture Groups will be established in primary schools as part of the Fair Start Action Plan; work has already started.

Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said:  “I am pleased to announce that we are bringing forward the expansion of Nurture Groups earlier than planned.  This investment will help these schools to provide more support to children who are already facing significant challenges and who have social, behavioural, emotional and wellbeing needs.

“Nurturing is a key element in supporting our children to make the best start in life and help to improve their educational outcomes.”

A further existing 46 funded Nurture Groups will continue to be funded by the Department of Education.

Concluding the Minister said: “I want to thank all staff involved in nurture within our education settings for their support to date and my officials look forward to working with them in the coming months to continue to deliver this important programme.”

Subject to the business case process and necessary approvals, funding will be allocated to the Education Authority and relevant schools at the earliest opportunity.

Notes to editors: 

1. The sixteen schools where new Nurture Groups will be established are:

  • Clandeboye Primary School, Clandeboye Road, Bangor
  • Hazelwood Integrated Primary School, Whitewell Road, Newtownabbey
  • Our Lady’s Girls Primary School, Deanby Gardens, Belfast
  • Primate Dixon Primary School, School Lane, Coalisland, Dungannon
  • St John’s Primary School, Bligh’s Lane, Londonderry
  • St Patrick’s Primary School, Racecourse Road, Londonderry
  • Victoria Park Primary School, Connsbrook Avenue, Belfast
  • Camphill Primary School, Carolhill Park, Ballymena
  • Hart Memorial Primary School, Charles Street, Portadown
  • Nettlefield Primary School, Radnor Street, Belfast
  • St Brigid’s Primary School, Broughshane Road, Ballymena
  • St Clare’s Abbey Primary School, High Street, Newry
  • St Joseph’s Convent Primary School, Edward Street, Newry
  • St Joseph’s Primary School, Greystone Road, Antrim
  • St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballinlare Gardens, Newry
  • Whitehouse Primary School, Doagh Road, Newtownabbey

2. In addition, 46 Nurture Groups will continue to be funded by the Department of Education.

3. The Fair Start Panel published its report on 1 June 2021 following full endorsement by the NI Executive on 27 May 2021.

4. The Minister allocated £4m during this financial year to begin work on the Fair Start Action Plan which includes eight key areas with 47 recommendations for change. More information is available at A Fair Start | Department of Education (

5. Follow us on Twitter @Education_ni

6. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at

7. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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