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£20 Million on new Schools: Maximise the Public investment by guaranteeing social savings

10 January, 2006

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson will meet with Belfast Education & Library Board Chief Executive David Cargo to discuss the proposed new build of schools in the Belfast area under the new strategy proposed by the Strategic Development Board following report on procurement produced by Consultants Price Waterhouse Cooper.   Commenting upon the meeting Michael Ferguson said,   " My colleagues from the Sinn Fein Advisory Forum and I will be meeting with David Cargo to discuss the implications for what is the biggest new build school programme that any Board has ever undertaken.   £20million pound is scheduled to be spent on 9-10 new schools and they are to include the state of the art sports facilities as well as a range of community facilities.   Sinn Fein welcomes the development of what we call 'Learning Neighbourhoods' in which educational institutions are integrated within the community and which support social and economic regeneration.   We also want to see the delivery of integrated health and social services into educational provision from early years through to Key Stage 3, which is inclusive of ‘the extended school’ services as effective methods of addressing deprivation and poverty and therefore educational underachievement.   It is however of the first importance that we have tendering arrangements that maximize public investment and guarantee an optimum public saving from construction through to services that target social need.   These are questions that we will be putting to the BELB Chief Executive and of course we will want to consider all of these matters in the context of the recommendations from the Review of Public Administration which affects all educational sectors."  

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