Belfast Telegraph

New school plan is out of the blue

by Natalie Irvine

The news that Bangor Grammar has been given the go-ahead to start building its new school |has been ecstatically received.

It was among 14 schools approved for a new building after Education Minister Caitriona Ruane allocated an additional £13m from other departments’ surpluses.

Bangor Grammar is to receive the largest slice of funding, £17.432m, while Strathearn Grammar, in east Belfast, is to receive £17.399m.

North Down MLA Peter Weir was first to welcome the news: “As a former pupil of Bangor Grammar myself, I am acutely aware of the positive impact that this decision will have on the school, the staff, pupils, parents and indeed the wider community.

“There is a lot of work that has gone into this £17 million project, and the staff and Governors of the school are to be commended for their years of professional endeavour which will help bring this about.

“It is a long overdue announcement, and indeed the school |has had to make do for a number of years, but this will enable |the school to embrace the future with new modern facilities to match its excellent academic achievements.

“It is no secret that there has been a growing sense of frustration of many of those connected with the school at obfuscation by the minister on the issue of new build, as uncertainty has reigned over whether and when this would move ahead.

“Indeed many of us had suspicions as to how much of a level playing field the grammar school sector has been on but at least today those fears have been shown to be unfounded.

“While I welcome the decision, the next big challenge from the minister and the department is to show the same commitment to the four schools capital project in Holywood and to Bangor Central Primary.”

UUP MLA Leslie Cree said: “This announcement has come out of the blue, and it’s absolutely great news that Bangor Grammar School can now proceed with its plans.

“We have to accept the minister Caitríona Ruane at her word that this will happen,” he said.

“It is good to hear the money |is there to begin this project and I can only accept the minister at her word that the money will |be there in subsequent funding rounds to complete this new school build.”

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