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Row over emails on school building plans

By Kathryn Torney

The Assembly has been asked to intervene after the Department of Education finally announced the outcome of Caitriona Ruane’s eight-month review of schools which have been approved or turned down for new building plans.

A total of 34 out of 67 schools have been told they comply with policy. But there is no guarantee any will be built because the Education Minister has said there is not enough money, unless extra funding is found.

DUP education spokesman Mervyn Storey complained that the schools affected were only given the news by email on the last day of term.

Eight schools have received the devastating news that their plans are ‘not compliant’ with the department’s Sustainable Schools Policy and will not be given the go-ahead — despite previously being approved by the department.

These schools must now “rework” their plans to address school-specific or area issues.

Twenty-six schools have been told they are ‘partially compliant’ — which means issues need to be resolved before the project is considered compliant. And 31 schools received the best news that their projects have been rated ‘fully compliant’ and can go ahead.

However, this may be irrelevant as Ms Ruane warned that no new schools will be built unless she gets additional money from the Executive.

One school given the green light, if funding becomes available, is Irish-medium school Scoil na Fuiseoige in Twinbrook. It said last month it had been told it would not get a new school and campaigned for the minister to change her mind.

It has been estimated that it would cost £500m to complete all the new builds needed at Northern Ireland’s schools.

Mr Storey said: “The minister refused to give any detail of how the process was conducted other than a list of half-baked department policies that were used as terms of reference.

“I still am waiting on a reply to a letter to the minister from the beginning of June when I asked for more detail as to how each school would be judged.

“Serious questions are now being asked by the schools, some that have been waiting almost 20 years for a decision.”

The list of schools affected


Ballymoney High

Bangor Grammar

Colaiste Feirste

Dromore Central PS

Ebrington PS

Edendork PS

Eglinton PS

Enniskillen PS

Foyle & Londonderry College

Holy Family PS

Holywood Nursery, Holywood PS

and Redburn PS

Methodist College

Omagh Integrated PS

Parkhall Integrated College

Priory Integrated College

Rainey Endowed School

Scoil na Fuiseoige

St Clare’s and St Colman’s PS

St Colman’s PS

St Conor’s PS

St Joseph’s Convent PS

St Joseph’s PS Madden

St Mary’s PS Banbridge

St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon

Strathearn Grammar

Taughmonagh PS

Victoria College

Victoria Park PS (Strand & Sydenham)


Ballykelly PS

Carrick PS

Corranny and Cornagague PS

Dean Maguirc College

Dromintee PS

Edenderry NS

Glastry College

Glenwood PS

Holy Trinity College, Cookstown

Lurgan College

Magherafelt NS & PS

New Buildings PS

Portadown College

St Columba’s PS

St Columbanus’ College

St Columbkille’s PS

St Louis’ Grammar, Kilkeel

St Mary’s PS Newcastle

St Oliver Plunkett PS

St Patrick’s College, Banbridge

St Teresa’s PS Lurgan

Strandtown PS

Tannaghmore PS

The High School, Ballynahinch


Artigarvan PS

Devenish College

Knockbreda High

Little Flower

Loreto College, Omagh

Springhill PS

St Bronagh’s PS

St Patrick’s Grammar, Armagh


Arvalee School and Resource Centre, Omagh

Belmont House Special School

Greenwood House Assessment Centre, |Belfast

Knockevin Special School

Mitchell House Special School

Rossmar Special School

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