‘Relief’ Millennium PS secures plans funding

‘Relief’ Millennium PS secures plans funding

5 June 2024

A PRIMARY school principal said he is “relieved” that his school is finally guaranteed to get a new home.

Millennium Integrated Primary’s Barry Corrigan has welcomed a recent announcement from Stormont Education Minister Paul Givan that plans for the new primary outside Saintfield have been given the green light.

Mr Givan announced last week that his department has secured an additional £80m of capital funding for education this year which will allow 15 new-build schools and extensions across Northern Ireland.

“We are all relieved,” Mr Corrigan said.

“It has been a disheartening ongoing saga, but we now the wait as shifted from ‘if’ we will get a new build to ‘when will it start’. We are so delighted and there is a renewed optimism within the school, because we there has been talk of receiving a new build for nearly 20 years.”

Mr Corrigan said that the uncertainty of whether or not the school would receive a new-build has been a “whirlwind of will they, won’t they”.

He continued: “We have had so many disappointments in the past few years. In 2022, work on the new-build had actually started but it had to be paused due to a lack of funding from the UK government.

“Myself, the Board of Governors and members of the PTA worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get more clarity about the status of a new school-build and I just want to thank them for all their efforts.”

The school received a hammer blow in March this year when it was announced that it was one of many integrated schools province-wide to have £150m withdrawn, which prohibited the school to proceed with its plans of a new school build.

At the time, Mr Corrigan said there were plenty of “long faces” but that they would continue to advocate for more funding to see the project through.

Nearly 400 students attend Millennium Integrated, but the hope with the new school build is to have a modest increase to 420 so the school can accommodate 30 pupils per class.

“In many ways we still can’t believe that it’s happening,” Mr Corrgian said.

“It’s been something we’ve been promised for so long, so there’s an element of sadness that so many pupils and parents who have been good to us throughout the years didn’t see it become a reality. They will definitely be invited back to the opening ceremony.”

Mr Corrigan continued: “We are a cross-community school and there is a demand for us to have a new building.

“Even when it looked bleak and the project wasn’t going to be lifted off the ground, so many people and politicians from across the political spectrum worked incredibly hard to ensure our voice was heard.”

The principal added: “I can’t thank them enough and we are very excited for the future of this great school.”