Northern Ireland news

Schools in Northern Ireland awarded £45m for building improvements

DUP education minister Peter Weir. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye
Brendan Hughes

EIGHTEEN schools across Northern Ireland are to receive funding for building improvements worth £45 million.

The projects are the latest to be funded under the school enhancement programme (SEP), which provides money for schemes costing between £500,000 and £4m.

Five post-primary schools, 12 primary schools and one special school are to benefit from the funding announced today.

It is the third tranche from a call for applications made in 2017.

Stormont's eduction department in May 2018 announced that £60m would be spent on work on 25 schools, and a further £40m for 16 schools was announced in January 2019.

Announcing the latest funding, DUP education minister Peter Weir described it as a "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," he said.

"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."

SEP provides money for parts of schools to be rebuilt rather than entire new school buildings.

Construction work on the latest projects is expected to begin in 2022 or 2023.

The 12 primary schools are: Botanic, Cliftonville Controlled Integrated, St John the Baptist and St Paul's – all Belfast; Carrick – Lurgan; Glencraig Controlled Integrated – Holywood; Holy Child – Derry; Irvinestown PS; Kilcooley – Bangor; Killinchy – Newtownards; St Kieran's – Dunmurry; and Strabane PS.

The five post-primaries are: Glastry College – Newtownards; St Louis Grammar School – Ballymena; St Patrick's College – Maghera; Sullivan Upper School – Holywood; and Victoria College – Belfast.

Improvements will also be funded to Riverside Special School in Antrim.

Mr Weir added: "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."

Responding to questions in the assembly, the minister said he was committed to education reforms pledged in the New Decade, New Approach document and would announce proposals "soon".

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news