A LOCAL grammar school has spent around half a million pounds in order to maintain its existing facilities, despite approval being granted for a new build project 10 years ago, it has been reported.
Mid Ulster SDLP Assembly Member, Patsy McGlone, made the revelation after meeting with principals and staff from St Joseph’s Grammar Donaghmore and Holy Trinity College Cookstown.
Officials from the Department of Education were also in attendance at the meeting, Mr McGlone told the TIMES.
Mr McGlone said, “Despite New Build Approval in 2003 the school has been forced to spend over £500,000 to maintain the existing building. Enrolment continues to grow progressively and is expected to reach 680 by 2017, from 555 pupils in 2010.
“It is clear that there is a growing demand for places at St Joseph’s, and an anticipated need for additional 26.6% post-primary places in the area by 2025.
“During the meeting at St Joseph’s it was made clear to the Department officials that, in the absence of capital investment for a new build school, the very least that was required was a commitment to fund a new Sports Hall and changing facilities and an upgrade of the fabric of the school building.
“It would also be preferable to make provision for a careers suite, a technology workshop, and space to deliver the physical surroundings for the drama curriculum.”
Mr McGlone concluded: “St Joseph’s is well recognised as a superb school offering an excellent standard of education, and has a growing Irish-language stream. I will continue to lobby on their behalf to secure the investment that they need in order to be able to continue to serve the young people of this area so well.
“The Minister must act to ensure that St Joseph’s can continue to meet the growing demand for places from parents keen for their children to benefit from the excellent standard of education it provides.”