O’Dowd cuts the first sod at £1.55million classroom extension at Rathore School, Newry

Date published: 18 June 2015

Education Minister John O'Dowd has cut the first sod on a £1.55million classroom extension at Rathore School, Newry.

The new extension will replace the current temporary accommodation, providing children with new facilities including five new classrooms and a post-16 suite as well as a parent meeting room and increased ancillary facilities.

Speaking about the investment, the Minister said:

“This investment enables improvements to be carried out which will positively impact on pupils, teachers and school staff.  The new extension will help to deliver a quality education for all our children and young people.  

 Continued investment in our schools estate is essential and in these difficult financial times, when the budget is limited, the School Enhancement Programme is an important way of providing much needed work to our schools estate.”  

The School Enhancement Programme (SEP) was announced in 2013 for projects costing between £500,000 and £4,000,000.  The programme is targeted to meet the immediate and pressing needs in schools, through smaller scale works, where a new build capital works are not deemed deliverable.

Concluding, the Minister said:

“I am confident that this investment will help in the drive to improve education standards, providing better facilities for our young people to learn in and an improved working environment for teachers and school staff.  This is a good day for all the pupils and staff of Rathore and the local construction industry and I am delighted to be here today to celebrate with them.”  

Commenting on the investment, Rathore Acting Principal Jim O’Hare said:

“I am delighted with this investment which will provide better facilities for the pupils.  Everyone at the school is looking forward to completion of the work and they are excited about moving into the new rooms.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Rathore is a controlled co-educational school for pupils with severe learning difficulties.
  2. The construction contract was awarded to GEDA Construction in March 2015.
  3. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign promotes the value of education. This year’s campaign aims to ensure that parents have information on schooling and that they are aware of the steps they can take to ‘Get Involved’ and support their teenager in achieving good outcomes at school. Watch out for the ads on television, radio and outdoor locations. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit nidirect for more information or watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel.
  4. See photos from the Department of Education in our Flickr collection.
  5. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 99 715 440, and your call will be returned.

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