Work commences at Donard School after £1.18m investment

Education Minister, John O'Dowd and pupil Shane McArdle cut the first sod at �1.18 project at Donard School, Banbridge. The investment has been provided under the School Enhancement Programme which continues to improve the schools estate.'Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons 07778373486

Education Minister, John O'Dowd and pupil Shane McArdle cut the first sod at �1.18 project at Donard School, Banbridge. The investment has been provided under the School Enhancement Programme which continues to improve the schools estate.'Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons 07778373486

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Education Minister John O’Dowd visited Donard School in Banbridge to mark commencement of work following £1.18million investment under the School Enhancement Programme.

During the visit the Minister met with staff and pupils of the school and also carried out a sod cutting to mark the occasion.

Education Minister John O'Dowd met with Principal Edel Lavery and pupil Brielle Toal during a site visit to Donard School to view the �1.18 investment project provided under the School Enhancement Programme 'Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons 07778373486

Education Minister John O'Dowd met with Principal Edel Lavery and pupil Brielle Toal during a site visit to Donard School to view the �1.18 investment project provided under the School Enhancement Programme 'Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons 07778373486

The Minister said: “It is a pleasure to be here today to officially mark commencement of work at the school.

“This project will see £1.18million investment which will provide a permanent four-classroom extension to replace the temporary accommodation currently in use.

“This new accommodation will provide a better layout and an improved working environment for the staff and pupils of the school which will have a positive impact for many years to come.

“Ongoing investment in our schools estate is essential if we are to continue to provide a quality education. The School Enhancement Programme is an important way of providing much needed work to our schools estate and I am confident that this investment will help in the drive to improve educational standards.”

The School Enhancement Programme (SEP) was announced in 2013 for projects up to £4million.

The programme is targeted to meet the immediate and pressing needs of schools through smaller scale works, where a new build is not deemed deliverable.

Concluding the Minister said: “I always enjoy visiting schools and meeting with staff and pupils.

“It is particularly enjoyable when I am highlighting investment that not only has an impact on the lives of those connected with the school but also provides a boost to the local construction industry.

“I am delighted that I could be here today to celebrate this occasion with the school and I wish everyone well for the future.”

Principal Edel Lavery said: “I am delighted that Donard Special School is benefitting from this funding.

“The new provision will allow for four classes and we are looking forward to having a school canteen where all pupils can come together.”