Minister opens new additional needs facility at Hazelwood

Education Minister John O'Dowd and pupils Adam Johnson (9), Reilly O'Neill (9) and Jude Fitzsimons (9) having fun at the opening of the new �145,000 additional needs facility at Hazelwood Integrated Primary School. INNT 51-509CON Pic by Aaron McCracken, Harrisons
Education Minister John O'Dowd and pupils Adam Johnson (9), Reilly O'Neill (9) and Jude Fitzsimons (9) having fun at the opening of the new �145,000 additional needs facility at Hazelwood Integrated Primary School. INNT 51-509CON Pic by Aaron McCracken, Harrisons

Education Minister John O’Dowd visited Hazelwood Integrated Primary last week to officially open the school’s new additional needs facility.

The £145,000 extension at the Whitewell Road school will provide a dedicated learning support service for pupils with additional needs such as behavioural problems or learning difficulties. It will also house a ‘calming zone’ and counselling facilities.

Hazelwood Integrated Primary School P7 pupils Ollie and Chloe are pictured with school principal, Mrs Patricia Murtagh, Noreen Campbell from the integrated education movement and Drennan McBride, Chair of the Board of Governors, at the official opening of the new learning support facility at the school. INNT 50-011-PSB

Hazelwood Integrated Primary School P7 pupils Ollie and Chloe are pictured with school principal, Mrs Patricia Murtagh, Noreen Campbell from the integrated education movement and Drennan McBride, Chair of the Board of Governors, at the official opening of the new learning support facility at the school. INNT 50-011-PSB

Speaking during the visit, the Minister said: “I welcome the opportunity to be here today to officially open the new £145,000 extension which enables the school to provide a new dedicated learning support service.

“The new accommodation will greatly benefit the children of the school by complementing the learning that already goes on in the classroom and contributing to the overall development of the children using the facility.”

The £145,000 investment by the Department of Education is in addition to over £600,000 of capital investment in the school for the refurbishment of the school meals kitchen and the water system.

The Minister continued: “I always enjoy visiting schools and meeting with both the staff and pupils within that school.

“It is particularly enjoyable when I am visiting to open new facilities that could positively impact on the school pupils for generations to come.”

Principal Patricia Murtagh said: “We are very happy to welcome Mr John O’Dowd to open our additional needs facility today.

“We are proud of our inclusive ethos at Hazelwood Integrated Primary and at every level we endeavour to nurture and develop each child to their full potential irrespective of need - this facility allows us to do this effectively.

“The flexibility of the space we have at our disposal is wonderful, allowing one-to-one sessions as well as small group teaching, a counselling space and a calming zone. This is a super resource indeed which will be well used.”

Concluding, the Minister thanked the governors and principal for inviting him to the school.

He said: “Hazelwood Integrated Primary School has been providing education to the children of Newtownabbey for the past 30 years. This new facility can only enhance the education already being provided.

“I thank Principal Murtagh, the board, the teachers and most importantly the pupils for inviting me here today. I wish you all well for the future.”