Belfast Telegraph

O’Dowd opens new £2.69million premises for St Columba’s Primary School, Co Derry

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Education

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has officially opened new £2.69million facilities for St Columba’s Primary School in Straw, Draperstown, County Derry.

The new six class-base school can cater for a long-term enrolment of up to 175 pupils and includes state-of-the-art learning and developmental aids.

Speaking after the official opening, the Minister said: “It is with great pleasure that I am able to help the pupils and staff of St Columba’s celebrate the opening of their fantastic new school. 

“There has been a school in the Straw area of Draperstown since the 1830s and St Columba’s spent more than 50 years on its previous site. It has had an impact on generation upon generation of children here and is certainly an integral part of the fabric of local life. So it is hugely exciting that, now, the school is well set for the future with the latest learning aids and environment that will help teachers get the very best from the pupils.” 

The Minister continued: “This project was one of 13 new school builds announced by my predecessor in August 2010 and, having attended the cutting of the first sod myself, it is particularly pleasing to now see the new school come to fruition. 

“I want to see high quality facilities of this kind for all the areas across the north that need them, so that we have the right schools in the right place to meet the needs of children. I have already committed more than £350million to 40 new school projects since taking office, as well as over £17million so far in 2013 on minor works to existing premises. I will strive to secure further resources wherever possible, against the backdrop of imposed budgetary constraints.” 

Concluding, the Minister said: “My thanks and congratulations go to all involved in making the new school for St Columba’s a reality and I wish everyone connected with the school the very best as they look to the future with optimism.”

Notes to editors:

1. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit for more information. Watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel:

2. See photos from the Department of Education in our collection at

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