Belfast Telegraph

Tor Bank gets new school

Tor Bank School has finally been given the go ahead for its new school build.

The news comes eight years after the plans were first considered and will completely transform everyday school life, according to the principal.

The new school will be built through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) — funded by a public sector authority and a private party — and is currently in the early stages of this process.

Speaking to The CT, Colm Davis, school principal, said much of the hard work was done by former councillor Iris Robinson.

“Many political representatives lobbied on our behalf, but Mrs Robinson was one of our greatest champions.

“We want to thank her for all her hard work and time spent dedicated to Tor Bank.”

The school, currently located on the Upper Newtownards Road opposite the Moat Park, is a special school attended by pupils with severe learning difficulties.

As well as the main building the school also has to rely on nine mobiles.

The new school will be located in the grounds of Dundonald High School, also located on the Upper Newtownards Road, and will bring all the pupils back under one roof and on one level.

Mr Davis continued: “Community links are very important to the school, as community projects benefit our pupils.

“This new school build will still allow us to maintain those links, keeping us within easy access of Dundonald village.

“But the school currently uses nine mobile classrooms and this is not very suitable.

“Around 50 percent of our pupils are educated in these, including any pupils who use wheelchairs.

“With the rest of the pupils taught inside the school building, this new school build will bring all the pupils back together again.”

The new school will also include a new canteen and PE hall, as well as a light and sound room and soft playground.

Mr Davis added: “The children will have so many more resources available to them.

“And while no date has been set yet, the school is hopeful the work will begin this year or next.”

Welcoming the news, Castlereagh councillor Tommy Jeffers (pictured) said he was “delighted”.

He added: “This is great news for a school which does brilliant work in the area. The school really does deserve new premises, having had to cope with using many mobile classrooms for a number of years. This news is due to the hard work and dedication of all those who lobbied on behalf of the school and I am delighted for them.”

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