DISPOSAL plans for any future vacant school sites could present major problems for Omagh it was claimed this week.
As the Strule Shared Education Campus moves forward, albeit, slower than anticipated, Ulster Unionist Party councillor, Chris Smyth, has questioned the Department of Education's approach to utilising or disposing of the old schools once they become vacant.
The campus, which will replace the current facilities Loreto Grammar School, Omagh Academy Grammar School, Sacred Heart College, Omagh High School and Christian Brothers, is expected to deliver a shared education campus for over 4,000 post-primary pupils in the wider Omagh area.
The project includes a large shared educational campus for the schools and a large shared outdoor sports facility; it is unique in Northern Ireland in that it brings together schools which are currently on separate sites. Controlled schools will join maintained, grammar, non-selective and a special needs school, which differs from integrated education in that each school retains its separate identity and pupils will, in theory, share resources. This development, once implemented, will be the template for 10 similar shared education campuses across Northern Ireland.
It had been due to open in 2020, then there were forecasts of 2021 but when secretary of state, Karen Bradley visited the £140 million development last year, she mentioned 2022 or possibly 2023 before the schools were up and running.
Full story in this week's Tyrone Constitution...