Northern Ireland backs plans for up to 10 new shared school campuses


Secondary schools serving neighbouring Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland are bidding to increase sharing by coming together on single sites.

Up to 10 new shared campuses are being created as part of the Northern Ireland Executive’s Together Building a United Community initiative.

The aim is to provide money to schools to facilitate and deliver sharing. It is expected this will see the creation of massive campuses where schools will be co-located and share infrastructure.

Work has begun by government to bring forward one such campus in the North.

Schools in Omagh are relocating to the former military barracks at Lisanelly on the outskirts of the town in a £130 million redevelopment.

Education minister John O’Dowd says the proposed Lisanelly campus provides a valuable model for how shared learning opportunities can be structured. It is only one of many models that will be considered, he adds.

Schools have until the end of March to apply for the funding which will allow them to work more closely. 

A group in Armagh, made up of Catholic, state, grammar and non-selective schools, is bidding to become one of the new campuses. They envisage a 46-hectare site, which will be a “flagship example of educational collaboration”.

The Educational and Community Village Consensus Armagh plans to create a network of viable and sustainable schools, with shared teaching and recreational facilities.

Steering group convener Bishop Alan Harper says he is delighted that Mr O’Dowd is taking a major step in the delivery of 10 projects.

“This is real progress for our project and we are very optimistic that Armagh can benefit from this funding,” he said. 

“We are a unified group with a common goal of creating co-ordinated educational services and infrastructure to ensure the delivery of the best educational outcomes for all our children. We are confident that Armagh should become one of the first recipients of the shared education funding programme.”


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