O’Dowd officially opens new £1.52million sports accommodation at Saintfield High School

Date published: 11 February 2016

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, today opened new £1.52million sports accommodation at Saintfield High School, delivered through the School Enhancement Programme.

Speaking during the visit, the Minister said:

“It is a pleasure to be here today to officially open the new £1.52million sports hall and changing facilities which were provided through my Department’s School Enhancement Programme. This investment has allowed the school to address the accommodation issues and I am delighted to be here today to see the end result.

“Ongoing investment in our schools estate is essential if we are to continue to provide a quality education. The School Enhancement Programme is an important way of providing much needed work to our schools estate and I am confident that this investment will help in the drive to improve educational standards.”

The School Enhancement Programme (SEP) was announced in 2013 for projects up to £4million. The programme is targeted to meet the urgent needs of schools through smaller scale works, where a new build is not deemed deliverable.

Concluding the Minister said:

“I always enjoy visiting schools and meeting with staff and pupils. It is particularly enjoyable when I am highlighting investment that not only has an impact on the lives of those connected with the school but also provides a boost to the local construction industry.

“I thank everyone involved with this project for their hard-work and commitment in taking the project forward to completion. I wish everyone well for the future.”

Principal Vivien Watt said:

“This is a wonderful day. I am just thrilled that money was made available through the School Enhancement Programme to make our dreams a reality for all our pupils. It is a magnificent sports facility, enjoyed by all our students, extra-curricular clubs and societies, and the boys and girls from Academy Primary School. This is a real investment in the future of our school – in the lives of our young people and the wider community.”


Notes to editors: 

1. 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 - Education works for more information or watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel

2. See photos from the Department of Education in our collection at flickr

3. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.

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