Green Light For Downpatrick Knockevin Special School

Education Minister Paul Givan announces big education package and Knockevin Special School to get new school

* Investment programme in school facilities will support children with Special Educational Needs across Northern Ireland

Education Minister Paul Givan has announced a wide-ranging programme of significant and sustained capital investment for the development of school facilities to support children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) across Northern Ireland.

And as part of the plans, work on a new Knockevin Special School is to begin immediately.

Education Minister Paul Givan, centre, pictured earlier this year with Principal Karen Hancock and Fleming Fulton Head Girl Mary O’Neill while he was reviewing Special Needs Education provision across Northern Ireland.

Speaking in the Assembly, the Minister said: “Today I am announcing the biggest step change to capital planning in education for a generation.

“It is an ambitious and far-reaching programme of investment in facilities for children with SEN, which will transform the education and lives of our most vulnerable children and their families.

“It is simply not good enough that many of our most vulnerable children are being educated in ageing facilities, too often without adequate equipment and resources.

“Our special school staff, who work with our most vulnerable learners, need and deserve facilities that match their skills and expertise.”

The new SEN Capital Programme will deliver:

• up to eight entirely new special schools over the next 10 years;

• new builds for a number of existing special schools;

• an extension and refurbishment programme for special schools;

• ccommodation for specialist classes in mainstream schools

• as well as additional maintenance and equipment funding.

Outlining a four-point capital investment masterplan that will benefit every special school in Northern Ireland, the Minister added:: “I have put in place an annual £5million maintenance programme for special schools.

“Also there will be £4million to provide equipment grants to both special schools and schools with specialist provisions, to ensure they have the right resources to support their pupils.”

The Minister added: “We are rightly proud to have wonderful special schools across Northern Ireland and we know the life-changing impact that a successful special school has on pupils and their families.

“I am therefore also announcing that planning of new build schools for Sperrinview and Knockevin Special Schools will begin immediately, as too will capital planning for the much needed second campus of Ardnashee Special School.”

The Minister said: “Our hopes and ambitions for our children with SEN should be the same as for any other child. 

“This programme of capital investment is wide-ranging and necessarily ambitious and will transform the special education provision in Northern Ireland.”

The SEN capital programme will have four distinct strands as follows:

  • an annual ring-fenced resource maintenance and equipment programme for special schools and specialist.
  • creation of additional Specialist Provision in Mainstream Schools classes (SPiMS).
  • extension of existing special schools to provide additional places; and
  • new special school provision.


Mason welcomes planning green light for Knockevin Special School

Sinn Féin MLA Cathy Mason has welcomed the announcement from the education minister that planning for a new Knockevin Special School will begin immediately.

South Down MLA Cathy Mason has welcomed the announcement that Knockevin Special School will have a new school building soon.

The South Down MLA said: “It’s fantastic news that planning will begin for a new Knockevin Special School.

“This will be transformational for children with special educational needs in Downpatrick and right across South Down.

“I will continue to work together to ensure this vital project is delivered and to ensure our special educational schools system meets the needs of children and families.”