Dr Mark Browne, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education, has taken the first decisions in relation to Development Proposals (DPs) following new statutory duties arising from the new Integrated Education Act 2022.
Three of these decisions will result in the establishment of 26 part-time places in pre-school provision at Enniskillen Integrated Primary School (IPS), as well as a statutory nursery unit at both Rowandale and Drumlins IPSs.
Announcing his decisions Dr Browne said:
“These are the first decisions to be taken within the context of statutory duties arising from the new Integrated Education Act 2022 which extends the current duty on the Department to encourage and facilitate the development of Integrated Education.
“It is clear that parental demand for integrated pre-school education continues to grow and approval of these proposals will enable a greater number of children to access integrated pre-school education.
“I have considered carefully all of the information, evidence and letters of support and objection provided to me in relation to these proposals and have decided that they should be approved.
“The new Integrated Education Act (2022) places a duty on the Department to aim to meet the demand for integrated provision and I am content that these three proposals demonstrate such demand.”
The 2022 Act states that support for integrated education involves providing sufficient places in integrated schools to aim to meet the demand for integrated education within the context of area planning and the overall sustainability of the school estate.
Dr Browne has also decided that a DP which proposes to Transform St Anne’s PS, Donaghadee to become a Controlled Integrated IPS should not be approved and has given approval to a separate DP which proposes to discontinue the school.
Dr Browne added:
“In relation to St Anne’s PS Donaghadee, schools proposing to Transform to become integrated must be able to demonstrate that they can be sustainable under the criteria of the Sustainable Schools Policy.
“Having considered all the information and evidence for St Anne’s PS, there is insufficient evidence that the continuation of the school would result in the delivery of sustainable provision for pupils.
“The closure of any school is a difficult decision, and I would like to thank all those associated with the school for their significant contribution to the education of the pupils who currently and historically have attended the school.”
Notes to editors:
- DP 664 for Enniskillen IPS proposes that ‘Pre-school provision is expanded at Enniskillen Integrated Primary School through the establishment of a single pre-school afternoon session to provide 26 part-time places’.
- DPs 671 and 674 propose that that a statutory nursery unit with 26 part-time places will be established at both Rowandale IPS and Drumlins IPS respectively.
- DP 683 proposes to Transform St Anne’s PS, Donaghadee to become a Controlled Integrated IPS should not be approved, and DP 673 proposes to discontinue the school.
- DPs for the integrated primary schools are brought forward by the schools’ Boards of Governors and are published by the Education Authority (EA).
- As planning and managing authority for St Anne’s PS Donaghadee, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) brought forward DP 673 for publication by the EA.
- The submissions on which the Permanent Secretary based his decisions are published on the Department’s website at the following link: Development Proposal Decisions 2023 | Department of Education (education-ni.gov.uk)
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