Newry primary school to benefit from new School Enhancement Programme

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Monday, May 11th, 2020

Education Minister Peter Weir has announced a final 16 schools to advance in design under the second call to the School Enhancement Programme (SEP2).

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Locally, one of the schools which will advance in design from this announcement is St Patrick’s Primary School, The Meadow, Newry.

Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA Liz Kimmins welcomed the announcement.



The Newry MLA told Newry Times, “This is welcome news and I commend all for their efforts.

“Since I went into the Assembly in January this year, I have been lobbying the Minister to prioritise St Patrick’s as part of this scheme, as it is the oldest primary school in Newry and has not previously received capital investment.”

The Sinn Féin MLA continued, “This much-needed funding will help to enhance the school facilities and consequently improve the teaching and learning environment for the whole school community.”



Liz did, however, express disappointment that the Minister did not award any funding for Gaelscoileanna as part of this announcement.

“I would urge the Education Minister to consider this going forward and I also encourage him to visit Bunscoil an Iúir where he would see for himself at first hand the current conditions that staff and pupils are learning in and the need for significant investment.”

Ten primary schools, four post-primary schools and two special schools will benefit from an estimated capital investment of £40 million.



Speaking in the Assembly, the Minister said, “The School Enhancement Programme has been very successful in delivering much-needed capital investment in our schools estate.

“As of today, 74 schools across the estate – 43 primary schools, 19 post-primary schools and 12 special schools are, or will, benefit from the second call to the scheme.

“Improving the school’s estate is one of my priorities and in the current unprecedented and difficult times, I hope this announcement will send a strong signal to the local construction industry that the Department of Education is planning for the future and is committed to supporting the local economy through the delivery of our capital programme,” he added.



To date, 58 projects are progressing in design under the second call to the School Enhancement Project.

This follows 50 schools which benefitted from investment under the first SEP call.

Peter Weir continued, “My Department’s capital programme aims to ensure that all our children and 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. 

“This announcement today represents another strand of the overall capital programme and indeed, marks the last announcement of the SEP2 projects. 



“Over my term as Education Minister, I will review progress on the 74 announced projects and, subject to satisfactory progress and available budget, will consider if there should be a third call for applications to the programme, as part of the overall capital investment strategy,” the Minister added.

Due to work on the previously announced 58 projects, these additional 16 projects are unlikely to be initiated before the 2021/22 financial year, at the earliest. 


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