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Karen Bradley visits site of Northern Ireland's largest shared education campus

By Michael McHugh

A shared education campus in Omagh has received a £140m Government funding boost.

Strule will be the largest of its kind in Northern Ireland and will bring together more than 4,000 pupils from six schools and all backgrounds.

It will offer collaborative education opportunities to students across the Steam (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) area of the curriculum.

Secretary of State Karen Bradley said: "UK Government funding will help support integrated and shared education in Northern Ireland and break down barriers through cohesion to give young people the valuable skills they need to succeed."

She visited the site yesterday but said an Executive should be restored at Stormont to build on her announcement.

Mrs Bradley said the sharing of facilities, skills and resources will enable a more flexible approach to learning with enhanced curriculum choices, encouraging young people to flourish.

The Secretary of State was welcomed to the Strule campus, a huge building site, by John Smith, deputy secretary at the Department of Education, and Jennifer Morgan, construction director, for a tour, during which she heard about the scale and ambition of the project.

At Arvalee School and Resource Centre, a special needs school on the edge of the site and the first school to move to the new shared location, she was greeted by principal Jonathan Gray and John Hall, chairman of the school's board of governors, for a tour of the school and grounds.

She also met the principals of the other five schools involved in the project, as well as a number of pupils from all six schools. Strule is the only campus in Northern Ireland where students with moderate and severe learning difficulties will be educated alongside mainstream schools.

Mrs Bradley added: "Our strong commitment has been demonstrated in recent years in the 2013 Economic Pact with the Executive and in both the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements.

"It is our ambition that we ensure all young people can benefit from a high-class education and fulfil their potential, irrespective of their background.

"The Strule project demonstrates the huge importance of devolved government in Northern Ireland to drive forward projects like this for the benefit of the whole community."

Belfast Telegraph

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