Northern Ireland

Ten years on from shared education campus plans - but how many schemes have come to fruition

Principal Limavady High School, Darren Mornin, deputy First Minister, Emma Little-Pengelly, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office, Lord Caine, First Minister, Michelle O’Neill, Minister of Education, Paul Givan and Principal St Mary’s, Limavady Rita Moore
The shared education campus in Limavady was officially opened last week by First and Deputy First Ministers, Michelle O’Neill and Emma Little-Pengelly

Ten years on from the announcement of plans for five shared school campus schemes in Northern Ireland and two have been halted indefinitely and another one is in doubt.

The Shared Education Campuses (SEC) programme was launched in January 2014 and was initially part of the Stormont executive’s Together: Building a United Community initiative.

But a decade on and just one of the five schemes announced has come to final fruition.

Last week a shared education campus in Limavady, Co Derry was officially opened by First and Deputy First Ministers, Michelle O’Neill and Emma Little-Pengelly.

The £11 million campus welcomes pupils from Limavady High School and St Mary’s High School, which are both located on Irish Green Street.

Although remaining separate schools, the campus sees pupils from both share some classes.

But it has now emerged that some of the other original projects unveiled at the same time as the Limavady project have been halted.

One of them is the Moy Regional Controlled Primary School (PS) and St John’s PS, Moy scheme.

The Department of Education told The Irish News: “Following discussions with both schools, the Education Authority (EA) and Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), the project board agreed that this project should currently draw to a close”.

“The partnership will have the opportunity to submit a bid for funding to any future call for shared campus projects.”

The department official also confirmed that another shared campus, Duneane PS, Toomebridge and Moneynick PS, Randalstown in Co Antrim, has also been dropped.

“This campus project is not continuing due to the declining enrolment numbers in both schools,” he said.

He also confirmed that the total spend on the Duneane/Moneynick SEC was £80,000.

Shared campus
Plans for two shared campus projects have been dropped

Another proposal involving St Mary’s PS, Brookeborough and Brookeborough PS remains in doubt.

“The department is continuing to liaise with the Education Authority in relation to the development of the business case for Brookeborough SEC,” the DE spokesman added.

Just one project - Ballycastle HS and Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle - looks set to proceed after a contractor was appointed in March 2023.

The DE spokesman said “The integrated supply team are undertaking the final design work with construction estimated to commence in Spring 2024 and to complete in Summer 2027″.

He added that the department “remains committed to the SECP and will continue to make the case for increased investment in the education estate”.