Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Shared Education Campus for Brookeborough Welcomed by MLA Seán Lynch and Councillor Sheamus Greene

Published: 23 March, 2016

Sinn Féin MLA, Seán Lynch along with his party colleague, Councillor Sheamus Greene have welcomed the announcement today that the proposed shared education programme between two primary schools in Brookeborough is to go ahead.

Mr Lynch said:

'This is part of the Executive's 'Together: Building a United Community' initiative launched by the First and deputy First Minister in May 2013.

"The Education Minister, John O'Dowd, had challenged small schools to come up with ideas to make them sustainable for future generations. He was looking for a 'bottom-up' solution and one that was driven by communities rather than from the top-down with limited local input and knowledge."

Mr Greene, who is also the Chair of the Board of Governers for St Mary's Primary School, continued:

"We have been working on trying to get this shared education programme going for a few years now and have received great help and support from the Fermanagh Trust in putting this programme together and facilitating visits to other shared education campuses.

"I would particularly like to thank Catherine Ward of the Fermanagh Trust who showed great determination, help and support and didn't give up on us when we were declined after our first application.

"A group of governers from both St Mary's Primary School and Brookeborough controlled Primary School visited schools in Liverpool and Glasgow to look at different models for shared education.

"The Glasgow model was a better fit for us than the shared faith school in Liverpool; as both school communities came together on the one Campus whilst maintaining their own identities and ethos.

"At break time the children were all running about the playground, playing together and the schools were sharing resources such as coaches and specialist teachers. We knew it was the right model for us.

"This was reinforced when the parents of pupils at both schools were surveyed and over 95% of them supported the idea of having both schools sharing the one campus, whilst maintaining the school identity.

"Both schools have been sharing resources to some extent going back generations such as bus trips and trips to the swimming pool, but this really embraces the idea of shared education for the future and I would like to thank my party colleague, John O'Dowd, for his whole approach in allowing the community to decide their educational future."

Seán Lynch finished:

"I am delighted with this good news today which secures state of the art facilities within a new shared campus where the schools will still keep their own identities but will be sharing resources and facilities.

"This will ensure that educational facilities and teaching at the schools will be of a high standard whilst minimising the cost and guarantees the future of both schools for generations to come." - Ends/Críoch