Newtownabbey schools to get share of funding

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Four local schools have been successful in the latest tranche of the School Enhancement Programme.

This is the second call of the School Enhancement Programme under which schools can benefit from refurbishment or extension projects, valued between £500,000 and £4 million.

In today’s announcement, the Department of Education said funding will go to 16 schools across Northern Ireland including, Ballyclare Primary, Fairview Primary, Glengormley CI Primary and The Thompson Primary School.

Permanent Secretary, Derek Baker, said: “This is a significant investment in our schools estate with a further 16 projects now progressing to planning stage.

“The School Enhancement Programme continues to provide much-needed improvements and new accommodation for the benefit of our young people and staff.

“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.”

Welcoming the announcement, a spokesperson for The Thompson Primary said: “Delighted to at last be given notice of funding for our school improvement. Very much looking forward to making our school an even better learning environment for all of our pupils and staff.”

The move has also be welcomed by political representatives.

South Antrim UUP MLA Steve Aiken said: “This is very welcome news for Ballyclare, Fairview and the Thompson Primary schools. It represents a significant investment in the schools estate locally and is very much welcomed by the Ulster Unionist Party.

“Whether it be Cllr Vera McWilliam, Cllr Jim Bingham or Danny Kinahan working with me in lobbying for further financial support for Ballyclare, Fairview and the Thompson, we have all been working for this outcome and are pleased to see it bear fruit.

“While this money will be welcomed by our local schools, it remains to be said that there are many other South Antrim schools that require similar if not more significant investment.

“This need for investment and the stress our principals and teachers find themselves under show that much more can and should be done.”

Commenting on social media, South Antrim DUP MP Paul Girvan said: “Congratulations to Ballyclare Primary, Fairview Primary and The Thompson PS on today’s announcement that they are progressing to planning stage as part of a £40m investment in 16 schools across Northern Ireland.”