The Programme will deliver on one of the strategic headline actions from the Executive's ‘Together: Building a United Community’ initiative announced by the First Minister and deputy First Minister in May 2013 – the commencement of 10 new Shared Education Campuses within the next 5 years.
The Programme is aimed at providing capital assistance to schools to facilitate and deliver the following types of sharing:
- Shared educational facilities – where new facilities are built to allow for shared educational use by all schools within the model.
- Enhanced educational facilities – where current facilities are improved to allow for shared educational use by all schools within the model.
- Shared Educational Campuses – where schools are co-located and share infrastructure.
Capital funding for the Programme has been secured under the Fresh Start to the Stormont House Agreement with £50m a year for 10 years for shared and integrated education announced on 23 March 2016.
First Call for Expressions of Interest
The first call for Expressions of Interest in the Programme ran from January to March 2014. The then Minister announced the first 3 projects to be supported under the Programme on 1 July 2014.
Second Call for Expressions of Interest
The second call for Expressions of Interest ran from October 2014 to January 2015 and 2 projects were selected to proceed in planning on 23 March 2016.
Third Call for Expressions of Interest
The Third Call for Expressions of Interest opened on 20 September 2016. Projects identified from the Third Call to the SEC Programme were approved to proceed in planning in July 2017, subject to funding being made available from Fresh Start (FS) funds.
Unfortunately, Fresh Start funds were not available to take these projects forward and despite exploring all potential avenues of funding, it has not been possible to identify an alternative funding stream.
Updates provided in relation to the projects have evidenced that there have been significant changes in the circumstances that have impacted the majority of the Third Call applications.
Taking account of the current financial and budgetary constraints, the Department has made the very difficult decision that it is not possible for the Third Call applications to be progressed.
The Department remains committed to the Shared Education Campuses Programme and the vision of the T:BUC strategy and the schools involved have been advised that this decision would not preclude them from applying to any future calls to the Programme or bringing forward a SEC solution via Area Planning and the Development Proposal (DP) route.