Long-awaited hopes for new, modern facilities at Corran Integrated Primary School in Larne have been given a major boost this week.
The Northern Ireland Executive has confirmed that £100 million in borrowings from the UK Government will allow several shared education projects to proceed.
The funding, part of the Building a Prosperous and United Community programme, will enable the Executive to prioritise spending to improve the facilities at a number of integrated primary schools, including Corran.
A joint document published last week by the UK Government and the NI Executive stated: “Omagh, Portadown and Corran Integrated Primary Schools currently suffer from poor provision of facilities, and £8 million of borrowing will be used to help prioritise new builds more quickly than would have occurred under normal funding arrangements.”
The staff and governors at Corran have long been pressing for a permanent building on the school’s current site at Blackcave North.
East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson welcomed the funding announcement and described it as “long overdue”.
He added: “I strongly welcome this announcement. Corran has been waiting far too long for a permanent building.
“It will help to meet the increasing demand from parents for integrated education in Larne.
“I have visited the school on several occasions and have consistently raised this issue with the Minister of Education. I am therefore pleased by this further positive development.
“Studies have shown a large increase in demand for integrated education, yet demand often far exceeds available places.
“The response should be to provide the integrated sector with greater capacity and modern facilities to allow it to thrive.
“A new, permanent building for Corran Integrated will represent an important step forward in facilitating children being educated together and building a united community.”
Last year, Education Minister John O’Dowd announced that a long-awaited permanent building at Corran PS was to be advanced to the planning stage.