Northern Ireland

14 schools to get cash windfall

Caitriona Ruane
Image caption Caitriona Ruane revealed 14 schools will get funding

Fourteen schools which are in urgent need of new buildings will be able to begin their projects in this financial year.

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane revealed the list of schools that will benefit from a £13m windfall.

The biggest projects to get formal approval are Strathearn Grammar in east Belfast and Bangor Grammar.

Eleven primary schools have been told they have clearance to go ahead with their building plans.

The minister has said she has also found £10m to tackle the backlog of maintenance work for schools in Northern Ireland.

In June, it was revealed which schools had passed all Department of Education checks. A second list showed that 24 schools needed to do more work on their bids for funding.

However, out of the 14 schools to go ahead, half are from the approved list and half from the second group.

Ms Ruane said she had put forward a "strong case for greater investment in the schools estate" and welcomed the additional funding.

"Potentially, it could see major progress being made on 14 schools projects and minor works carried out in many other schools across the north," she added.

"To ensure we can spend this money before the end of the financial year we have identified projects which are well advanced in terms of financial, planning and tendering processes.

"We need to make rapid progress to realise the full potential of this allocation and are working closely with the schools and managing authorities to resolve outstanding issues."

Funding

Alliance's Trevor Lunn welcomed the announcement of funding.

However, he said that there were schools which "are still awaiting the green light for their schemes and every effort must be made to provide funding for them too".

The SDLP's Dominic Bradley said it was "a great relief to those schools which have got good news that this long-winded process has finally come to an end for them".

"However, it is a great disappointment for those schools which have not been included in the funding announcement," he said.

The DUP's Mervyn Storey said:"The news that vital projects are to go ahead will be greatly welcomed by parents, pupils and teachers, particularly those in Taughmonagh, Magherafelt, Strathearn and Bangor."

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd also welcomed the announcement.

He said it will mean that "over a dozen new school builds can commence in the near future".

Meanwhile, the Ulster Unionists' Basil McCrea said the minister "must give clarity to those compliant schools who failed to secure capital funding".

Speaking after the funding announcement, Mr McCrea said that it was a "drop in the ocean".

The total cost of building all the schools in Thursday's announcement is £65m.

The £13m found from other departments' surpluses will only start them off and the remainder of the money will have to be found in future financial years.

The schools that will benefit from the funding are as follows (estimated building cost in brackets).

  • Carrick Primary School, Warrenpoint (£3.329m)
  • Corranny and Cornagague PS, Roslea (£1.539m)
  • Dromintee PS, Newry (£2.046m)
  • Scoil Na Fuiseoige PS, Belfast, (£1.65m)
  • St Columba's PS, Draperstown, (£2.097m)
  • St Oliver Plunkett PS, Forkhill, (£1.841m)
  • St Colman's PS, Lisburn, (£3.306m)
  • St Joseph's PS, Madden, Armagh, (£1.543m)
  • Magherafelt PS & Nursery Unit (£4.166m)
  • St Marys PS, Newcastle, (£3.45m)
  • Taughmonagh PS, Belfast, (£3.539m)
  • Bangor Grammar (£17.432m)
  • Strathearn Grammar, Belfast, (£17.399m)
  • Colaiste Feirste, Belfast, for site acquisition (£2.325m).

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites