St. Joseph’s H.S. faces indefinite wait for new school

July 6, 2015

The staff and pupils of St. Joseph’s High School in Crossmaglen face an indefinite wait for their much-needed new school premises after the Education Minister John O’Dowd revealed he does not know when the project will begin.

In June last year, St. Joseph’s was one of 15 schools from across Northern Ireland who were told they would be getting a new school as part of a £170 million investment aimed at replacing antiquated school buildings.  The news was greeted with great enthusiasm by the whole school community who had campaigned and lobbied for years to get modern and fit-for-purpose facilities.

However, it has emerged that, to date, not one of the 15 projects has commenced and the business case for the St. Joseph’s project has yet to be completed and approved.

Questions have been raised about the availability of the ring-fenced funding for the new schools, particularly given the significant cuts to the Education budget.  The Department of Education has insisted that the schools “will be built” but it is unable to say when.

And despite the Minister describing a new build for St. Joseph’s as a “high priority project”, a timeframe for the work to commence has yet to be decided.

Principal of St. Joseph’s High School, Mr John Jones, had not responded to The Examiner’s request for clarification on the progress of his school’s project at the time of going to press.