St Margaret’s Travellers Community Association has run Homework Clubs (HWC) for the past 10 years. The HWC has consistently been one of the most successful projects that we are involved with in St Margaret’s Park. The goal of the HWC is to encourage participation and increased levels of attainment in the education process for Traveller children. We aim to give the children the opportunity and support required to give them a positive experience of their time in school. This is achieved by providing the facilities and resources whereby the children have the support of teachers and supervisors in completing their homework in a safe and friendly environment. We also provide for the children’s social development through group work, arts and crafts activities, fun and games. We would expect that by this process, children would have increased levels of confidence and are more likely to transfer to second level education. The evidence we have to date seems to support our contention that the HWC is hugely beneficial to the children of St. Margaret’s. Reports we receive from various sources including parents, teachers and the Visiting Teacher for Travellers service suggest that there has been a noticeable positive effect of our homework clubs work and that children’s school attendance has improved. Their homework and school work is better and there have been an increased number of children transferring to secondary school than in past years.
The Homework Club caters for children of Primary school age and there are in reality two Homework Clubs. Club 123 is for children in first, second and third class (six to eight year olds) and club 456 is for children in fourth, fifth, sixth class (nine to twelve year olds). Club 123 operates on a Tuesday and Thursday and Club 456 are held on Mondays and Wednesdays. The clubs run from September each year through to June the following year.
“Hi my name is Rachel Lawrence and this is about the homework club, ok. Every Monday and Wednesday we come in here to do our homework. If you don’t have any homework you can go on a computer or get a maths sheet. When you come here you get some help off the teachers. It starts at three o’clock and we go home at four o’clock. We always get a bar of chocolate at the end of homework club. We have lots of books and games.” Rachel Lawrence
“My son Shane is thirteen years old now. He used to go to the Homework Club when he was in St Josephs National School. He went to the Homework Club in St Margaret’s two days a week to do his homework. He had some learning difficulties. I found that the teachers were very good with him. They gave him help when he needed it. I could go and talk to the teachers because they were near to hand and they were good support for Shane.
I had to explain that he was having difficulty with some of his homework so they would give him extra help. I thought this was very good and beneficial to him. Shane is now in secondary school and is doing his best. The Homework Club is very good for the kids of St Margaret’s and is appreciated by all the parents.” Noreen Maughan