Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

John O'Dowd visit gives fresh hope to special needs school

John O'Dowd

There are high hopes that a special needs school in Limavady will be among those agreed for a new build when the Education Minister makes his announcement on capital investments at the end of this month.

John O'Dowd paid a recent visit to Rossmar School — accompanied by the then Mayor Sean McGlinchey — where despite pressure from his aides to depart for another engagement in Belfast the minister insisted on staying and told the head teacher the current school was “not fit for purpose”.

Cllr McGlinchey told the North West Telegraph that conversations with the minister have left him “extremely confident” that there will be good news for the school when the list of new builds is announced.

Cllr McGlinchey added: “As Mayor I attended several events at Rossmar and was so overwhelmed by the work done by the children and the staff but I was saddened by the state of the school.

“I have spoken about Rossmar to the minister, both on the day he came to the school and also since that and I am extremely confident that the right decision will be made.”

Rossmar school was built over 50 years ago and much of the current building dates back to then with a few additions which are now 30 years old. These include 13 concrete steps which the children, some of whom have profound mobility issues, must negotiate to access vital areas of the school.

Head teacher Brian McLaughlin said that while he had not been told if Rossmar will be included in the list of new builds, he was reassured by the level of interest shown by John O'Dowd during his visit.

Mr O'Dowd was not available for an interview and a department spokesman said no comment could be made on plans for individual schools at this time.

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