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St Patrick’s Grammar share in £134 million schools investment

St Patrick’s Grammar School in Armagh is one of 51 schools across the Province included in a massive £134 million investment in the schools estate announced this morning (Tuesday).

The School Enhancement Programme, which was established in January 2013, is designed to enable the refurbishment or extension of school buildings.

It allows for awards of between £500,000 and £4 million for schools and has been welcomed by the Minister.

It wss on last Monday that, after months of rumours and proposals, it was announced that St Patrick’s Grammar School, Armagh, was to expand and end the use of academic selection, with St Brigid’s High School to close completely

Education Minister John O’Dowd approved the proposals with the official announcement last week.

St Patrick’s Grammar School will move to an entirely non-selective admissions arrangement with immediate effect. The school will also, over a two year period, undergo a phased expansion up to 1,240 pupils. Over the same period St Brigid’s High School will cease to admit year 8 and year 11 pupils and will close no later than 31 August 2016.

Meanwhile, today’s investment announcement comes following October’s announcement by the Department of Education of which schools had been successful in the initial application process. However, each project was then subject to an Economic Appraisal before final approval could be given. That approval has now been granted.

The Armstrong Primary School in Armagh and Ceara Special School in Lurgan are also among the successful applicants.

The investment, worth a potential £134million, will ensure the schools benefit from refurbishment or extension projects, each valued between £500,000 and £4million.

Minister O’Dowd said: “Continued investment in our schools estate is essential if we are to help support our teaching staff to deliver a quality education to our children and young people. Since taking up my post I have given approval to proceed with 40 new school-build projects representing an investment in the region of £350million.

“However, I have previously made it clear that the limited capital budget available means that we also need to do more with the existing estate. That is why I established the Schools Enhancement Programme with a view to refurbishing and extending some of our school buildings.

“I am pleased to announce that 51 projects have now received the necessary approvals and am recommending that design work on all of the projects commences immediately.

“This investment, worth a potential £134million, will help to improve existing facilities and enable structural changes in the successful schools.

“It is good news for the pupils, staff and wider communities of the schools due to benefit from this significant investment and will be welcomed as a much needed boost to the construction sector over the coming years.”

A list of the schools who have been informed their applications will proceed is as follows:

  • · Belfast Royal Academy
  • · St Malachy’s College, Belfast
  • · Maine Integrated Primary School, Randalstown
  • · St Patrick’s Grammar School, Armagh
  • · Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry
  • · New-Bridge Integrated College, Banbridge
  • · Friends School, Lisburn
  • · Acorn Integrated Primary School, Carrickfergus
  • · Dalriada School, Ballymoney
  • · Millennium Integrated Primary School
  • · St Michael’s College, Enniskillen
  • · Belfast High School
  • · Sullivan Upper School, Holywood
  • · St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena
  • · Mount Lourdes Grammar School
  • · Ballyclare Secondary School
  • · Ballymoney High School
  • · Erne Integrated College, Enniskillen
  • · St Columb’s College, Derry
  • · Malone Integrated College, Belfast
  • · Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt
  • · Ceara Special School, Lurgan
  • · Donard Special School, Banbridge
  • · Rathore Special School, Newry
  • · The Armstrong Primary School, Armagh
  • · Millington Primary School, Portadown
  • · Victoria College, Belfast
  • · St Joseph’s Grammar School, Donaghmore
  • · Methodist College, Belfast
  • · Knockevin Special School, Downpatrick
  • · Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry
  • · St Aidans/St Bernadette’s Primary Schools, Belfast
  • · De la Salle College, Belfast
  • · Broadbridge Primary School, Derry
  • · Anahorish Primary School, Toomebridge
  • · St Bernard’s Primary School, Newtownabbey
  • · St Joseph’s Primary School, Newcastle
  • · Killean Primary School, Newry
  • · St Killian’s College, Ballymena
  • · St Mark’s High School, Warrenpoint
  • · Coleraine Academical Institution
  • · Willow Bridge Primary School, Enniskillen
  • · New Buildings Primary School, Derry
  • · Slemish College, Ballymena
  • · Strandtown Primary School, Belfast
  • · St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt
  • · Wallace High School, Lisburn
  • · Integrated College, Dungannon
  • · Loreto Grammar School, Omagh
  • · Saintfield High School
  • · St Patrick’s Academy, Lisburn

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Development proposal raises hopes for new-build Markethill High

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