Education Minister John O’Dowd MLA has opened the second call for schools, inviting applications for support under the Shared Education Campuses Programme. The deadline for submission of proposals under this call is 30th January 2015, with the projects approved expected to be announced in June 2015.
Lauri McCusker, Director of the Fermanagh Trust said “As we have seen in County Fermanagh, there is huge potential for schools working together in terms of joint planning, joint classes, training, teacher exchange etc. This shared campus programme provides schools with the opportunity to build on existing sharing arrangements and to access funding to help improve or provide shared educational facilities.”
“Our experience in the Fermanagh Shared Education Programme shows how some schools are exploring the opportunity for capital development including shared campuses. We would strongly recommend people across the community to explore this opportunity”, outlined Mr McCusker.
The Minister launched the programme in January 2014 under the Executive’s ‘Together: Building a United Community’ initiative and in July he announced the first three projects to proceed in planning. There was a strong interest show by schools in getting involved. Revised applications from the first call, as well as new ones are encouraged.
Highlighting the importance of the initiative, the Minister stated “There is no doubt that shared education has the potential to deliver real educational benefits, to ensure the best use of resources and to foster further cohesion between communities of different backgrounds.”
Mr O’Dowd continued “Of course, many local schools are already engaged in shared education activities. The Shared Education Campuses Programme will build on these strong foundations and also complement the activities that will flow from the recent announcement by the First Minister and deputy First Minister of £25million for shared education. These measures taken together will help further embed and normalise sharing at school level among our local communities and, in turn, will contribute to the vision of a shared, reconciled society.”
Further details on the Shared Education Campuses programme and the application process are available on the Department of Education’s website www.deni.gov.uk