Building to start for radical Moy primary

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A pair of Moy primary schools, the first in the North to cross the sectarian divide, have been awarded funding for a shared education campus.

In all, six new schools, including the campus for Moy Primary School and St John’s Primary in the village, are to be built with money provided under the Stormont House and Fresh Start agreements, details of which were announced on Wednesday.

The funding, totalling £43m, will also allow shared education campuses to be built in Limavady and Ballycastle.

The announcement means that building work can now begin on the Moy campus, plans for which were first revealed in 2013.

The schools plan to share a single new building, with shared gym, music and IT classes. But crucially, they would keep their own uniforms, teachers and boards of governors.

They would use the same front door but go to their own separate wings.

The schools, which have already forged links, say it will save money and prevent the smaller school, Moy Primary, from closing.

Classes from both the Moy regional and St John’s Catholic schools often walk the five minutes through the village of Moy to share classes and activities.

Existing integrated primary schools in Ballymena, Limavady and Ballynahinch will also get new buildings.

All of the projects had previously been announced and approved by the Department of Education but building on each site can now begin.

In the Stormont House Agreement the UK government agreed to provide £50m a year for shared and integrated school buildings.

That commitment was re-affirmed in the Fresh Start Agreement in 2015.

This is the first tranche of that money to be released.

Money will also be used to enable 17 other shared and integrated school building proposals to advance.

However, funding for the construction of those 17 proposals will be confirmed at a later date.

Six new schools are to built with money provided under the Stormont House and Fresh Start agreements.

Last week, Education Minister John O’Dowd announced a £40m capital investment for ten primary school builds.