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Huge boost for Portadown College as Minister pledges money for new build school

Portadown College

Portadown College is set to get their long-anticipated new build after the Education Minister confirmed it was one of seven schools’ projects across NI to receive capital funding.

Back in 2022, the College was one of 28 named on a list of capital projects, however, due to the Stormont impasse and lack of an Executive to allocate funding, those projects were put on hold.

Related: New Executive and new hope for four Co Armagh Schools

On that original list, there were new builds for St Catherine’s College in Armagh, Killicomaine Junior High School in Portadown, and St Paul’s High School in Bessbrook.

However, Minister Paul Givan, has given the green light to just seven of those projects – Portadown College and Dromore High Schools making the cut.

In his first Ministerial statement in the Assembly the Minister set out his plans for capital investment across the education sector.

The Minister said: “Children across Northern Ireland have the right to be educated in schools which are comfortable and safe, are of good quality and are properly designed and resourced to support their learning.

“I have therefore commissioned, as a matter of priority, a Capital Investment Strategy for Education which sets out a compelling vision for a responsive, agile and innovative programme of capital investment clearly aligned to wider education and Executive policy.”

The Minister continued: “Across my department’s capital programmes, in every constituency and in every school sector, there are a wide range of much-needed investment projects, which urgently need to be delivered.

“Consequently, I have submitted funding bids of £528million to the Department of Finance to meet education capital needs next year. As an absolute minimum, I require an additional £100million of capital above the draft budget allocation to meet pressures in regard to Special Educational Need placements.

“I am also lifting the pause that had been imposed in the absence of a Minister, on a number of new build projects for schools in the worst conditions. Integrated Consultancy Teams will be appointed for each project. This will ensure a pipeline of investment for future years.”

The Minister concluded: “I intend to build an education estate that is worthy of our children, our excellent teachers and our ambitions for a prosperous and dynamic Northern Ireland.”

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