04/09/2006

Integrated schools to open despite funding block

Two integrated schools are opening their doors to children to pupils for the first time after not receiving funding from the Department of Education.

Instead, Rowallane Integrated College, situated on the old Belvoir hospital site in south Belfast, and Clogher Valley Primary School in County Fermanagh, both received funding from the Integrated Education Fund (IEF).

It is understood that Rowallane Integrated College, which will eventually be relocated in Saintfeild, received £500,000, while Clogher Valley Primary School was given £250,000.

The schools are decided to open despite the decision by former Education Minister, Angela Smith to refuse them funding earlier this year despite an overwhelming demand for integrated education in the areas.

Baroness May Blood from the IEF today said that the decision to fund the new schools was "not an easy one."

She said that the IEF were furious with the government because these schools had met the criteria that the government had set down and then we had to go out and find another £1 million to support two of these schools for the next year.

The Integrated Education Fund is a charity established in 1992 to promote the development and growth of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

There are now 61 integrated schools with more than 18,500 pupils on the roll books.

(EF/SP)

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