Bradley welcomes school merger proposals

East Londonderry MLA Maurice Bradley has pressed the Minister for Education Peter Weir for an update of the area planning proposal to merge Coleraine College, Dunluce School and North Coast Integrated College, writes Gillian Anderson, Local Democracy Reporter.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 9:57 am
Maurice Bradley MLA

He said: “Our students deserve better and the sooner we can improve things the better.”

In June 2019, Coleraine College, Dunluce School and North Coast Integrated College were told they had until March 2020 to come up with plans to address the rising number of empty desks in the Coleraine area.

Responding to MLA Bradley’s tabled question, the Minister said: “The Education Authority (EA) is currently working in partnership with representatives of three schools, Coleraine College, Dunluce School and North Coast Integrated College on a joint proposal for non-selective post primary  provision in the Causeway area.

“A steering group the ‘Causeway Project Board’ has been established which includes representation from the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated  Education, the Controlled Schools’ Support Council and the Ulster University.”

The Minister added that the Education Authority had advised that the Causeway Project Board met on April 15 to finalise arrangements for a pre-publication consultation launch and engagement events.

He added: “My Department only becomes formally engaged in the process when the development Proposals have been published.”

DUP MLA Maurice Bradley, a member of the Education Committee said: “I would look forward to the results of any consultation, this is a huge project for the area and one that will have a huge benefit on the educational offering for our young people.

“We continue to have excellent examination results in the Coleraine area and congratulations must go to the pupils, teaching staff and indeed parents for supporting their children to be the best that they can be.

“However, the pupils and staff are being let down by the establishments in which they learn, so this proposal will have a positive impact across the board.
“If we look at Coleraine College for example – this is a school that continues to progress academically, pupil numbers have increased year on year, but the facilities are far from ideal.
“Part of the building is condemned, single glazing windows, curtains that can’t be drawn as they would fall apart.

“Our students and indeed our teaching staff deserve better, and the sooner we can improve things the better.” 

It is understood that a new building at the Ulster University campus in Coleraine could be the home for the new integrated school with possible provision for a primary facility.

It is believed the Coleraine Grammar School facilities on Lodge Road will be used until construction is complete once Coleraine Grammar becomes a one-site school at Castlerock Road.