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Minister announces £10m for school projects

By John Mulgrew

More than £10m has been freed up for major improvements to four Northern Ireland schools.

Education Minister Peter Weir has announced cash for improvement schemes at schools which include St Malachy's College, Belfast, Our Lady's Grammar School in Newry, St Michael's College, Enniskillen and Slemish Integrated College in Ballymena.

"This £10m investment will provide new and improved facilities and accommodation which will enhance the working and learning environment for pupils and school staff," he said.

"Improving our educational facilities is a priority for me and the School Enhancement Project (SES) is an excellent way of delivering capital work projects which have an immediate positive impact on the schools, staff and pupils."

The School Enhancement Project was announced in 2013 for projects costing between £500,000 and £4m.

St Malachy's College is due to undergo refurbishment to upgrade its heating system, along with works to stabilise a listed boundary wall and works to improve site drainage.

It will also include an extension to the technology block. The whole refurbishment is worth £2.4m.

Our Lady's Grammar School will see a new standalone three-room extension of its technology and design suite, incorporating three classrooms and refurbishment, along with other works, as part of a £3.3m project.

Enniskillen's St Michael's College is get a new £1m floodlit 3G pitch, athletics area and changing pavilion. Slemish Integrated College in Ballymena will get a new sports hall, floodlit synthetic pitch, three tennis courts and repairs to an existing rugby pitch.

The total cost is more than £3m.

Meanwhile, the minister has also announced the re-appointment of the chair and five members to the board of the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

That includes Trevor Carson, Rosemary Cowan, Christine Harpur, Robert Thompson, Dr Ana Kerr and Dr Neil Morton.

Two new board members, Cormac McKinney and Brian Wilson, have also been appointed.

"I would like to thank the members for their commitment to the work of CCEA," he said.

"The wealth of knowledge and expertise they bring to the board will no doubt prove invaluable."

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