New builds for North Down Schools a step closer, says Alliance

New builds for two local integrated schools have moved a step closer, Alliance representatives have said, as they hailed recognition for integrated education in North Down.

With plans for both Priory Integrated College and Bangor Central Primary School earmarked for further support, under a fresh round of funding announced on Tuesday, Stephen Farry MLA and Councillor Andrew Muir said they hoped the move would see the long-overdue new builds become reality.

Stephen Farry MLA said: “While this doesn’t automatically guarantee an immediate new build for Priory and Bangor Central, it is the next step in a long-running campaign to enable both schools to meet the strong demand for integrated education in the area.

“Alliance has been at the forefront of campaigning for new builds for both schools, with pupils and teachers suffering unnecessarily in cramped conditions. I hope this is the start of major changes to education provision locally, putting the integrated sector on a level par with other sectors across North Down.”

Councillor Andrew Muir added: “With initial funding for Priory’s new build announced on March 1, 2006, teachers, pupils and parents have had enough of constantly having their hopes dashed and funding withdrawn.

“With the planning process for both Priory and Bangor Central now moving a step closer, I hope this will have a knock-on effect to other local schools in need of new premises. Alliance will continue to champion integrated education, giving every family the opportunity to choose integrated education locally.

“As a former Pupil of St Columbanus’ College, I will also continue our campaign to deliver the long overdue new building for St Columbanus’ College which, as a super mixed and positively inclusive college operating in buildings dating back to 1960, desperately deserves similar funding to facilitate a new building.”

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