£900k funding boost for Ballyclare schools


Two Ballyclare post-primary schools are set to benefit from a Department of Education funding package totalling almost £900,000.

Ballyclare Secondary School will receive nearly £500,000 of investment in the coming months under the department’s minor works scheme. And Ballyclare High School is to get £365,000 under the same programme.

At Ballyclare Secondary more than £499,600 has been allocated for alterations, extension and partial refurbishment of the PE department, while at Ballyclare High the money will be used for a new fitness suite development and associated works.

Welcoming the funding announcement, Ballyclare High principal Mr David Knox said work on the school’s new gym and fitness suite should be finished in the new year.

“This facility will be used for curriculum PE classes to educate our pupils on how to develop body strength and fitness under these conditions and using specialised equipment,” he explained. “As most people know there is a keen interest in sport at the school and we are committed to bringing out the best in our pupils, particularly in pupils who have individual talent.

“The achievements of our pupils in sport in recent years have been outstanding. And this new facility will, I hope, stretch us that bit further and bring even more success to the school. I believe that the pupils have earned it and I hope that it will take them to increased levels of personal fitness to enable them to compete at the highest level safely and effectively. It will be a modern, creative solution and I hope that it will also encourage local sports clubs to increase their levels of fitness too.

“We are grateful to the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) for their investment in the children and young people in Ballyclare and we look forward to the opening of this first class facility.”

Mrs Kathryn Bell, principal of Ballyclare Secondary, said she was “absolutely delighted” with the funding allocation, confirming that the money will help pay for “a much-needed upgrade of our facilities.”

Work to improve the school’s PE department will include new changing rooms and toilet facilities, as well as refurbishment of existing offices.

The project came about following extensive lobbying by the school’s Student Forum.

A total of 10 minor works projects were approved last month for the NEELB area, representing an investment of almost £1.8million.

Minor works - schemes costing less than £500,000 - are projects ranging from minor repairs to more significant work projects and extensions.

“The completion of these works will ultimately provide better facilities for our children and young people to learn in and an improved working environment for teachers and other school staff,” said Education Minister John O’Dowd.