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Our Lady's is one of the local schools to benefit from the latest announcement. Photo: Columba O'HareSeveral local schools have been informed that their applications under the School Enhancement Programme (SEP) for capital investment have secured approval to proceed ensuring the schools benefit from refurbishment or extension projects, each valued between £500,000 and £4million.

The schools are Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry; Rathore Special School, Newry; Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry; Killean Primary School, Newry and St Mark's High School, Warrenpoint

Fifty schools overall were included with the overall investment, worth a potential £106million.

Announcing the news, 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 continued: “The successful projects are all 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.

“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.”

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