£45m Allocated To 18 NI Schools

Northern Ireland's new Education Minister has committed £45 million to 18 local schools in need of investment.

The School Enhancement Programme will deliver capital funds to twelve primary schools, five post-primary schools and one special school to deliver the site improvements they have been crying out for.

Announcing the scheme on his second day in the job, Education Minister Peter Weir told the Assembly: "This is a significant investment which will deliver much needed capital investment in the schools estate. More importantly, this is an investment in the future of our young people and will enhance the quality of their learning experience, leading to better educational opportunities and outcomes.

"Improving the schools estate is a priority for me and the SEP scheme is an excellent way of delivering capital work projects which have an immediate positive impact on the schools, staff and pupils and, indeed, local communities."

Design work on the projects is due to begin immediately, with construction work expected to begin in 2022/23, the Department of Education confirmed.

The primary schools advancing to the planning stage are:

• Botanic PS, Belfast

• Carrick PS, Lurgan

• Cliftonville Controlled Integrated PS, Belfast

• Glencraig Controlled Integrated PS

• Holy Child PS, L'Derry

• Irvinestown PS

• Kilcooley PS, Bangor

• Killinchy PS

• St John the Baptist PS, Belfast

• St Kieran's PS, Dunmurry

• St Paul's PS, Mica Drive, Belfast

• Strabane PS

Five post-primary schools will also benefit:

• Glastry College, Ballyhalbert

• St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena

• St Patrick's College, Maghera

• Sullivan Upper School, Holywood

• Victoria College, Belfast

One special school, Riverside in Antrim, is also set to proceed to planning.

A total of 41 projects have been announced to advance in planning under the second call to the School Enhancement Project. This follows 50 schools which benefitted from investment under the first SEP call.

Minister Weir highlighted the news as a welcome boost for both the education and construction sectors.

He said: "In addition to this SEP announcement, I intend to continue to advance the programme of major capital builds as well as a programme of much needed minor works across the estate. I will also look to invest in maintenance works across all schools."

Projects valued at between £500,000 and £4 million can be approved for the enhancement programme.

Sinn Fein MLA Karen Mullan welcomed the news of 18 investments. The party's education spokesperson said the scheme has made a significant difference to schools over the years.

"I am particularly delighted that Holy Child PS in Derry has been included this announcement to allow their case for much-needed improvements to move forward," Ms Mullan said.

"After visiting the school, I met with CCMS to help ensure that Holy Child PS were included in the School Enhancement Programme.

"For the Executive to deliver on commitments to Education, the British Government needs to live up to commitments made in the 'New Decade, New Approach' document."


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