Funding boost for local schools

John O'Dowd MLA. INLM4710-629con
John O'Dowd MLA. INLM4710-629con

St Columb’s College, Broadbridge PS and Newbuildings PS are to benefit from a significant capital investment boost of anything between £500,000 and £4million.

In total, fifty schools across the North have secured approval to proceed thanks to the investment through the School Enhancement Programme (SEP), which is worth a potential £106million and will help ensure that the approved schools will benefit from refurbishment or extension projects.

Announcing the news earlier this week, Education Minister John O’Dowd said: “Last year I signalled my intention to establish a School Enhancement Programme. The purpose of this programme was to ensure that we provide the best possible education estate for our children and young people, within the budget available.

“The SEP is designed to enable the refurbishment or extension of existing schools and I am pleased to announce today that 50 schools have been informed that their applications have been successful and will be advanced to planning. This represents a potential investment in the estate of £106million over the next two to three years.”

Examples of projects proceeding under the School Enhancement Programme include the provision of permanent build accommodation to replace mobiles, refurbishment of existing accommodation and the provision of sports facilities.

The Minister went on: “The successful projects are wall consistent with the emerging area plans and the scale of the investment underlines my continuing commitment to improving the schools estate.

“It comes in addition to the major works projects worth £350million I have announced since last summer; in addition to the £31million I have invested in minor works since January; and in addition to the £47million I have earmarked for maintenance this year.

Minister O’Dowd described the schools investment news as a “welcome boost” for all involved.

“Today’s announcement is good news for the pupils, staff and school communities involved, as well as being a welcome boost for the local construction industry,” the Minister added.