Two Ballycastle schools have been selected by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland for new shared campuses.
Ballycastle High School and Cross and Passion College were chosen from 16 applications and both school principals have expressed their delight at the announcement.
In a statement, Ian Williamson of Ballycatle High and Barbara Ward of Cross and Passion said that both school buildings are in need of replacement in order to continue to meet the educational needs of the community in Ballycastle and the surrounding areas.
“This proposal retains both schools in terms of identity, ethos and governance, while maximising the benefits of shared opportunities and resources. By working together as good neighbours and respecting difference, everyone benefits!” they said.
“The proposal additionally includes two new shared centres which will provide state of the art facilities for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related subjects including I.C.T. Also, a shared Performance and Creative Arts Centre will support the delivery of the curriculum at Key Stages 4 and 5.
“It is intended that these centres will provide the young people of the area with first class facilities to further their studies and support the needs of the local economy.”
Both principals said the acceptance of the proposal is a fitting reward for the years of hard work by generations of staff, pupils, parents and governors in making the Ballycastle partnership the success it currently is. They also added their thanks for the support shown by educational partners in the North Eastern Education and Library Board, Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and Queen’s University Belfast in bringing the proposal to this stage.
“It has also been pleasing to see the level of engagement and support from political representatives from across the political spectrum for the work being undertaken in the Ballycastle Schools both now and into the future.
“It is hoped that the next stage of the development process will be carried out as quickly as possible and the school and local community will see the product of the successful proposal become a reality in the not too distant future,” they concluded.
Ballycastle SDLP Councillor and Chair of Moyle Council Dónal Cunningham also welcomed the announcement.
Councillor Cunningham is a member of the Board of Governors at Cross and Passion.