Integrated education in South Tyrone is hoping to receive a major boost with plans to dramatically increase enrolment at Dungannon’s Integrated College.
A development proposal has been lodged with the Education Authority to expand pupil numbers from 500 to 740 pupils at the popular school.
This would permit the college to increase its admission number from 90 students to 120 students with effect from 1 September 2017, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Welcoming the proposal, Principal Andrew Sleeth said that there was a high demand for enrolments at the Dungannon school with students waiting for a place to become available across the different year groups. “In order to cater for demand, the Education Authority on behalf of the Board of Governors have published a Development Proposal”, he said. “We await approval of the proposal.”
Last year it was announced that Northern Ireland’s integrated sector was to be given a cash boost of half a billion pounds dedicated UK government funding allocated under the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements.
The money is the first to be released from the Fresh Start allocation of up to £50 million a year for ten years, and is designed to unblock through investment in education and early years nursery provision one of the most persistent obstacles towards a shared future for Northern Ireland’s communities.
Former Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said: “Anyone thinking of sending their children to an integrated school should be reassured that this is just the beginning of a substantial investment programme, benefiting the whole of Northern Ireland.”