28 May 2022

Capital investment to benefit County Derry schools

Two of the county's post-primary schools are among the recipients.

Capital investment to benefit County Derry schools

Two County Derry post-primary schools are among those to benefit from a £156m Department of Education funding package.

The funding is part of the Department's Major Capital Works Programme which will see nine schools in total benefit from improvements to their sites.

St Patrick's College, Maghera, and St Conor's College, Kilrea and Clady are the two County Derry schools who will receive funding.

Speaking today in the Assembly, Education Minister Peter Weir said the investment showed the Department was planning for the future.

"Improving the schools’ estate is one of my priorities and in the current unprecedented and difficult times," he said.

"I hope this will send a strong signal to the local construction industry and local communities that the Department of Education is planning for the future and is committed to supporting the local economy and the wider community through the delivery of our capital programme."

"My Department’s capital programme aims to ensure that all our young people are educated in school facilities which are safe, secure and fit-for-purpose, enabling them to receive the quality education experience required to help them to fulfil their potential."

St Conor's College had been operating over two sites, in Kilrea and Clady, and principal Aine Bradley says the funding will help the transition to one site.

"Our school community is thriving - since September 2019 we have been living, learning and excelling together in the classroom and on the sports field," she said.

"Coming together in one building will give our school community even greater opportunity and a common goal. Our pupils will finally have access to the state of the art facilities and resources they deserve.

"I want to say thank you to the Governors, Staff, Pupils and School Communities in Kilrea and Clady for your patience, support and steadfast belief that we could achieve greatness together."

Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone welcomed the inclusion of St Patrick's College, Maghera in the Department's plans.

"I have been in regular contact with St Patrick's College, Maghera on the need for improvements to the school estate over recent years.

"I have had visits with Department officials, the school principal, the chair of the board of governors and Councillor Martin Kearney on site to see the school facilities.

"While the major capital works projects for St Patrick’s College will now progress to the design stage, work will not likely commence until the 2024/25 financial year.

"When completed, pupils and staff at St Patrick’s College will benefit from the provision of modern, fit-for-purpose facilities."

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