Belfast Telegraph

O’Dowd opens new £900,000 facilities at Shimna Integrated College, Newcastle

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Education

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has officially opened new £900,000 facilities at Shimna Integrated College, Newcastle.

The school has installed a new home economics suite and refurbished its science and technology laboratories with more than £900,000 of funding from the Department of Education’s minor works scheme.

Speaking at the school, the Minister said: “I am honoured and pleased to have the opportunity to officially open these excellent new and upgraded facilities for science, technology and home economics at Shimna Integrated College.

“It is so important now for children and young people to have a sound grounding in the STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – so that they can maximise their capability and employability in the modern world. 

“Similarly, home economics is a subject area that offers not only essential knowledge and skills for later life, but also diverse and attractive employment and training opportunities should any young person wish to pursue a career in the world of food. As a former chef myself, I can attest to the value of my home economics learning at school!”

The Minister continued: “Schools right across the north benefit from improvements carried out under my Department’s minor works scheme, with more than £31.5million invested so far this calendar year and more to come.

“We are operating in tough financial climate but I am committed to maximising the resources available for capital works projects like those completed at Shimna, as well as for maintenance and major capital build schemes.”

On the issue of integrated education, the Minister said: “I take my statutory duty to encourage and facilitate the development of integrated education very seriously. Integrated education has grown in the north since the early 1980s, responding to the localised demand that has arisen, and I see the integrated sector as a key aspect of the diverse offering for local children as we continue working towards the primary aims of raising standards for all and closing the performance gap. Shimna College is a fine example of integrated education at its best.”

The Minister concluded: “I commend the Principal, Governors and all the staff at Shimna Integrated College on their effective management of the disruption during the building work, and wish all the pupils, present and future, the very best as they get involved in STEM and home economics through the new facilities.”

Notes to editors:

1. DE offered funding of £499,906.86 towards new home economics facilities at Shimna Integrated College. Funding of £409,125.00 was offered towards refurbishment of the science and technologies laboratories.
2. 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:
3. View photos from the Department of Education in our collection at

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