Northern Ireland

Education minister gives green light to 15 school construction projects

Two integrated schools previously due to benefit from ring-fenced British government funding are among those allocated capital funding.

Education Minister Paul Givan
Education Minister Paul Givan (Liam McBurney/PA)

Fifteen school building projects have been given the green light to proceed to construction.

Education Minister Paul Givan announced the new-build, extension and refurbishment schemes that will be funded from his capital budget.

The projects are being paid for from £80 million of additional capital funding allocated to the Department of Education for this financial year.

The department’s overall capital budget is £254 million.

Seven new-build primary schools will now progress to procurement and construction.

Those are Bangor Central Integrated Primary School; Crawfordsburn Primary School; Edendork Primary School; Glenwood Primary School; Mary Queen of Peace Primary School in Ballymena; Millennium Integrated Primary near Saintfield and Scoil an Droichid in Belfast.

Eight primary and post-primary schools will also receive investment for major extension and refurbishment and new-build construction projects.

They are Abbey Community College; Carniny Primary School; Kilronan Special School; Lurgan Model Integrated Primary School; St John’s Primary School at Kingsisland, Coalisland; St Malachy’s College in Belfast; St Mary’s Primary School in Barr, Newry; and St Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea.

Mr Givan made the announcement on a visit to Bangor Central Integrated Primary School, which will receive £10 million for a planned new build.

The integrated school sector was previously set to benefit from ring-fenced capital funding from the UK government in the Fresh Start agreement.

However, that protection was removed when the Government re-profiled the funding as part of the financial package offered for the restoration of Stormont earlier this year.

Mr Givan said he was now advancing the projects at Bangor Central and Millennium integrated primary schools through his conventional major works programme.

“Today’s significant announcement will see 15 schools benefiting from new state-of-the-art facilities for young people from Belfast to Ballymena to Enniskillen and beyond,” he added.

“The investment will also provide a welcome boost to the construction industry over the next number of years.”

The minister said he also planned over coming weeks to launch a series of targeted smaller scale investment programmes to support and enhance the delivery of the curriculum in schools.

“Potential schemes in this area will include specialist curriculum accommodation at post-primary, outdoor play and PE in the primary phase and curriculum resources and equipment more widely,” he said.

“It is my priority to ensure the educational experiences of as many children and young people as possible across Northern Ireland are impacted positively by capital investment.”

Mr Givan said his overall capital budget was also providing investment for 10 major school build projects that are currently in contract or on site, as well as funding for digital infrastructure across the schools estate.

He said more than £50 million had been earmarked to support special educational needs and highlighted that construction of the flagship Strule Shared Education Campus in Omagh was also progressing.