Schools compete for shared campus funding

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A host of Northern Ireland secondary schools are competing for funding to help them establish shared education campuses.

Three of the six projects to respond to the second call in the Shared Education Campuses Programme see post-primary schools from different communities working together.

The idea of the programme is to provide schools with the opportunity to build on existing sharing arrangements.

They can also access funding to help improve or provide shared facilities.

The plan is to open 10 such campuses at different locations across Northern Ireland.

So far, an application for a shared “stem” and 6th form facilities for St Mary’s High School, Limavady and Limavady High School has been approved. There will also be a shared educational campus involving Ballycastle High School and the neighbouring Cross and Passion College.

The latest bids involve an ambitious Digital Derry proposal, a city-wide initiative involving seven schools.

Former science specialist St Mary’s and former maths and computing specialist St Columb’s will be among those working alongside the new Ardnashee College, which caters for children with SEN.

Elsewhere, there are two separate bids from secondary schools in north Belfast.

The first is for a shared sports facility involving Catholic, state-controlled and grammar schools.

Many of the same schools also hope to be included in a proposed IQ Centre for north Belfast, which would also include special schools.

Education minister John O’Dowd says shared education has the potential to deliver real educational benefits, to ensure best use of resources and to further community cohesion.

“This programme provides schools with the opportunity to build on existing sharing arrangements and access funding to help improve or provide shared facilities,” he said.

“The proposals will undergo feasibility studies and economic appraisals with funding subject to agreement on access to required capital funding.”

He added: “I hope to announce the successful projects in June 2015.”

 


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