Financial windfall for two local schools is welcomed

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Two local schools are celebrating after being given a cash windfall as part of the School Enhancement Programme, announced by the Education Minister John O’Dowd last week.

Donard Special School and New-Bridge Integrated College will receive a share of the £134m pot being given to schools across the Province to enable major extension work to be undertaken.

The Principal of Donard Special School, Mrs Edel Lavery, said she was delighted Donard was one of the schools to receive funding. “We hope to replace the temporary accommodation at the school,” she explained.

“We are in negotiations with the Southern Education and Library Board but we are absolutely delighted to be included and we are looking forward to working with the Souther Board on plans for the school.”

Upper Bann MLA Joann Dobson and MEP Jim Nicholson, paid a visit to the school on Friday, along with Councillor Glenn Barr, Marc Woods and Aaron Carson, to congratulate them on receiving the much-needed funding.

“I was absolutely delighted to hear that Donard School recently received approval for funding for enhancements to their facilities,” she said.

“It was wonderful to spend time with the pupils at Donard and great to see the high level of professional care and attention they receive.

“In welcoming it I was also delighted to hear that New-Bridge Integrated College was successful in the same announcement.

“This is great news for the town and also for the local construction industry.

Mr Nicholson added: “I send my grateful thanks, and those of my colleagues to Edel and her team for their warm welcome and wish everyone well as they look to the next chapter for Donard School.”

New-Bridge Integrated are also to receive funding to enable them to replace the temporary classrooms at the school.

Councillor Brendan Curran welcomed the inclusion of New-Bridge in the programme. “The Minister’s announcement will see the replacement of twelve temporary classrooms with nine modular build classrooms and a new sports hall.

“This significant investment will further enhance the future of the college and comes in the aftermath of the Minister’s announcement of an increase in the number of pupils the school is allowed to enrol,” he explained.

“This is definitely a good news story that I’m sure pupils, families and staff alike will be happy to hear.

“The investment will also be a welcome announcement for our hard pressed construction industry bringing jobs and investment to a cornerstone of our local economy.”