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Education Minister approves new Blackwater Integrated School

14 March, 2008


Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has approved the establishment of a new grant-maintained integrated post-primary school.

The new school for 400 pupils, Years 8-12, will incorporate pupils from Down Academy, a controlled integrated school which will close, and Rowallane Integrated College, an independent school. The school will be known as Blackwater Integrated College.

The Minister said: "In reaching my decision I was mindful that I had met with delegations in support of the new school and also in opposition to it. I recognised that there is a demand for integrated education in the mid/south Down area but I also recognised that there are many good schools already serving the area and I had to balance my decision with that knowledge and our duty to encourage and facilitate the development of integrated education.

"My decision to allow for a school of 400 is a judgement based on the projected enrolment of 250 for Down Academy and the enrolment of just under 100 at Rowallane Integrated College and a consideration of the demand for integrated provision and the implications of provision for the area.

"I have also considered the circumstances of the school in the community it aims to serve and the projected enrolment of 400 is in line with the enrolments of several other schools in the mid/south Down area which are needed to meet local educational needs. It will be important that the future planning for the school is fully consistent with an area-based planning approach for the area, including collaboration between schools." ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. The South Eastern Education and Library Board published the Development Proposal on 2 October 2007:
    Development Proposal No 201 - that Down Academy, a controlled integrated school, should be closed with effect from 1 September 2008, or as soon as possible thereafter.
    Development Proposal No 202 - to establish a new grant-maintained integrated college, with effect from 1 September 2008, or as soon as possible thereafter. The new school will incorporate pupils from Down Academy Controlled Integrated High School, the closure of which is the subject of Development Proposal 201and the independent school, Rowallane Integrated College.
  2. The approval allows for a new grant-maintained integrated post-primary school for 400 pupils. The approval provides recurrent funding for a period of three years during which time Year 8 intakes and the religious balance will be monitored.
  3. The new school is expected to operate on a split site arrangement at Killyleagh and the existing Down Academy site with effect from 1 September 2008.

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