Pheonix Integrated Primary in line for new school from £500m shared education funding

The Northern Ireland Office chose Phoenix IPS to make a funding announcement
The Northern Ireland Office chose Phoenix IPS to make a funding announcement

Great news could soon be on the horizon for Phoenix Integrated Primary School in Cookstown.

Used at the backdrop for today’s news of the release of the first £43m of £500m to be spent on shared education across Northern Ireland, Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said Phoenix was on the list for a proper building.

After sharing her condolences with the Belgium people after Tuesday’s attacks, she said: “Turning to happier matters. Today I can announce that the first £43m of funding is going to be released of the £500m package to support shared an integrated education that was committed by the UK government as part of the Stormont House Agreement.”

Asked whether Phoenix Integrated was in line for a new school, she added: “The school is on a long list of excellent schools which are being given extra support and funding to develop proposals to take part in future funding from this £500m, so it’s good news for them. They’re going to be on the list.

“Hopefully, in the not too distant future we’ll be able to announce that they are part of the programme as well.”

First Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Education Minister John O’Dowd were all present to welcome the announcement.

Currently teaching children in a series of mobile classrooms on its Fountain Road site, the school’s principal Mrs Heather Watson told the Mail she is delighted her school could soon have a new building.

“There are other schools in a worse off state than we are,” she explained, “but we have no permanent buildings.

“All of the schools that have no permanent buildings are being prioritised - which is great news for us.

“We are oversubscribed at nursery, our quality of education is of a high standard and we have fantastic links with the local schools in this area.”