Northern Ireland teachers to attend training school in Stranmillis
About 350 teachers have attended a training summer school in Belfast that they have arranged themselves.
'NI Ed Camp' was set up after the Education Authority (EA) cancelled an annual training event due to a lack of funding.
It took place at Stranmillis College but was attended by teachers from across Northern Ireland.
It includes a range of courses, seminars and workshops in areas of primary and post-primary teaching.
The Regional Training Unit (RTU) summer school had been running for more than a decade, and was attended by around 2,000 teachers every August.
The summer school cost £50,000 to run in 2014, and was cancelled by the EA in June in response to budget pressures.
It was popular with teachers because they could get training without having to arrange cover for their classes.
In response to its cancellation, a group of teachers decided to set up their own training school.
Beverley Cripps from Ashfield Girls' School is one of the organisers, and she says that the RTU summer school was important to the profession.
"Teachers willingly used part of their summer holiday to improve their practice so they had something new and innovative to bring to pupils in the new school term," she said.
"We thought it was a shame that the summer school was cancelled, and we were determined to put something in its place so thousands of our pupils would not lose out.
"Teachers coming to NI Ed Camp are willing to give up their own time to make things better for their pupils."
Topics covered in the camp include classroom leadership, e-safety, helping pupils with dyslexia, using Minecraft in teaching, pastoral care and effective science teaching.
The EA is facing a cut in its budget from £405m in 2014/15 to £396.6m in 2015/16.
In addition, the RTU's budget was also cut by 25%, from £1.2m in 2014/15 to £893,000 for 2015/16.