Drumlins IPS Development Proposal To Provide 26 New Part-Time Places By 2024
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 in Ballynahinch.
The increase of 26 part-time places in the nursery unit at the Drumlins IPS in the Ballynahinch area will be welcome news to parents who are increasingly sending their children to integrated education schools.
Down News understands that although the new statutory nursery unit at the Drumlins IPS has been given approval, it will not be operational until 2024 as the classroom will have to be built and staff be in place.
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.”
The submissions on which the Permanent Secretary based his decisions are published on the Department’s website at the following link below: