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Education Minister, John O’Dowd,has given the green light to three Newry Schools, Our Lady's, the Sacred Heart and Rathore School to commence refurbishment or extension projects.

Education Minister, John O'Dowd with Cardinal Brady at the opening of St Oliver Plunkett's Primary School in Forkhill last year. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Education Minister, John O'Dowd with Cardinal Brady at the opening of St Oliver Plunkett's Primary School in Forkhill last year. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

In total 52 school enhancement projects have received approval to commence.

The School Enhancement Programme which was established in January 2013 is designed to enable the refurbishment or extension of school buildings. In October the Department of Education announced 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 investment, worth a potential £134million, will ensure the schools benefit from refurbishment or extension projects, each valued between £500,000 and £4million.

The Minister 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.”

Also included in the projects are Killean Primary School and St Mark’s High School, Warrenpoint.

 

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