In 2013, investment in “minor works” at the North’s schools has amounted to more than
£42 million, addressing issues ranging from repairs to more significant refurbishment projects and extensions. The North’s Department of Education reviews and approves minor works applications on a continuing basis.
In addition to the positive impact on pupils, teachers and school staff, the investment also provides a much-needed boost to the construction industry, helping to sustain local jobs.
Minor works contracts awarded during November included the upgrade of a link corridor at Ballyclare High School and the replacement of three tennis courts at Newry High School. In addition, there was drainage to the grass pitch at St Colmcille’s High School in Crossgar.
In August last year, education minister John O’Dowd announced an additional £10 million for schools’ maintenance, bringing the total allocation to £47 million in the 2013/14 financial year. Also, since last year the minister has given approval to proceed with new school projects representing a potential investment of around £350 million.
The completion of all of these works, he says, will provide better facilities for young people to learn and an improved working environment for teachers and other school staff.
“One of my top priorities is raising educational standards and I am confident that ongoing investment in the minor works programme will help achieve this,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“Continued investment in our schools estate is essential if we are to help support our teaching staff to deliver a quality education to all our children and young people.
“Despite pressures on my budget, I have continued to seek to target funds to improving the schools estate and I am pleased to announce that a further £8.5 million was earmarked for minor works projects during the month of November.”