Three schools to merge to create new integrated post-primary in Coleraine
Three schools are to merge to create a new integrated post-primary in Coleraine, with the possibility it could be part run by Ulster University.
The Department of Education has approved plans for the amalgamation of Coleraine College, Dunluce School and North Coast Integrated College.
The new 1,200 pupil school will be the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
There is a possibility that the new merged school will eventually be built on Ulster University's Coleraine campus.
However, it is understood it will initially operate on separate sites.
The Education Authority (EA) said "the strategic vision is for a new-build school on the Coleraine Campus of Ulster University, as a partner within the new school".
It added that partnership with the university would provide educational benefits for pupils and increased opportunities for training for staff.
The decision to approve the merger was made by the permanent secretary at the Department for Education, Dr Mark Browne, in the absence of a Stormont minister.
However, it comes despite a majority of respondents to a previous EA consultation opposed the amalgamation.
But it was backed by the schools’ boards of governors, Ulster University, the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and the Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC).
Coleraine College had 391 pupils in 2022, Dunluce High in Bushmills had 203 pupils and North Coast Integrated had 431 pupils.
An EA spokesperson said: “This innovative project of creating a new co-educational, 11-18, non-selective controlled integrated post-primary school with direct links to Ulster University is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
"The new school will create a learner-focused environment which is sustainable and will provide many new opportunities for children and young people, families and the wider community.
"It will also provide increased specialist provision in mainstream for young people with special educational needs within the area.
“Coleraine College, Dunluce School and North Coast Integrated College, the Education Authority, Ulster University, Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education and Controlled Schools’ Support Council will continue to work closely as we move towards implementing this development proposal.”