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Belfast - Mix and match aids stragglers

An initiative to help under-achievers at a Belfast boys' secondary has won a Northern Ireland Training Award.

Fourteen boys from Belfast Boys' Model School completed their Edexcel First Diplomas, most of them in construction, through a scheme co-ordinated by the school and Belfast Metropolitan College.

Each week, the pupils spent two days at the vocational college - which handled course delivery, assessment and exams - and three at school.

Ten pupils achieved the equivalent of four GCSEs at grade C and above, and the remaining four achieved an accredited award.

Sir Reg Empey, employment and learning minister, presented the award at the Harbour Commissioner's Office in Belfast. He said: "I hope the example set by these two institutions will encourage others to take a new approach to the training and development of their students."

Alan Logan, vice-principal of the school, said: "Programme results have been very encouraging, with most of the students making considerable progress throughout the academic year. Twelve of the 14 are now in employment, training or further education." mr.

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