“Boys to Men” and “Girls to Ladies” PROJECT

This project ran as a pilot scheme in Ballycraigy Primary School in the spring and summer of 2014 when Rev W Orr was Rector of Muckamore.

Due to the lack of a male role model in the children’s lives (75% of the children did not have a father figure living with them in the home!) a team consisting of the Rector and male parishioners took lessons for P7 boys teaching them life skills. The skills included basic DIY, gardening, shoe polishing, basic cookery, handling money and setting goals and values.  The project was so successful in 2014 that in the following year it became part of the P7 weekly programme for girls.

Much has been written and many projects findings have underlined the massive under achievement of protestant boys especially those living in the estates of our major towns and cities.  This project is a timely and innovative approach to dealing in some way with this challenge facing our schools and improving the life chances and aspirations of a very vulnerable group in our society.

Since becoming Rector of St Mark’s Parish, Portadown, Rev Orr has received requests from local primary schools namely Edenderry, Millington and Hart Memorial to launch the programme in these schools.

The programme has already run for a full school year in Edenderry Primary with last year’s P7, and everyone was delighted with the outcomes. The Principals of these local schools have highlighted the staggering statistics that 50% of children leaving primary school do not have a father figure as a role model in their lives. These schools have seven P7 classes in total so there is an enormous amount of work involved in the project.