Belfast Telegraph

Integrated and Irish primaries in unique shared campus plan

By Donna Deeney

Two primary schools in Londonderry are on their way to becoming the first shared campus to teach in two different languages.

Groarty Integrated Primary and Gaelscoil na Daroige have developed a close cross-community relationship over the past three years - but the principals of both schools have plans to take this to a new level.

A joint application to build a shared campus is currently with the Education Authority, who will decide tomorrow if it can progress to the Department of Education for approval.

Groarty Integrated's principal Nick Tomlinson is optimistic, given the strong ties that already exist between pupils from the two schools.

"Over the past three years we have grown a number of projects between our two schools that involve not just the children but also their parents so we would be optimistic from that perspective that we fulfil the criteria," he said.

"What is unique about our application is, it is the first time two schools teaching through two different languages have applied for a shared campus."

Westminster has set aside £50m a year to build shared campus schools in Northern Ireland.

Oisin Mac Eo, principal of Gaelscoil na Daroige, said having both sets of pupils on the one campus would allow more joint projects to flourish.

He explained: "The children come together for English lessons, personal development classes for the primary six and seven pupils and we have a joint football team and choir.

"Our parents also take part in joint programmes for parents and children so the level of co-operation between the two schools stretches across every aspect possible.

"All our projects are backed fully by the parents who have also given their support to our application."

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