Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Local primary school welcomes over £140k from Minor Works Scheme

The Principal of St Laurence O’Toole’s Primary School in Belleek has welcomed an investment from the Department of Education’s Minor Works Scheme which will see the school benefit to the tune of £142,350 to fund a much anticipated extension to the rural school.

Speaking to The Examiner after Minister O’Dowd announced the funding allocation last week, Principal Brea Friel said,

“We in St. Laurence O’Toole’s P.S., are delighted with securing the funding from the Department of Education for a new extension to our school, especially in line with the current constraints on budgets for education.

“The extension incorporates new accommodation including a staff room, Principals Office, resource room and controlled lobby which will no doubt improve the overall standards in the school.

“We look forward to working in these new modern facilities and continually seek to provide the best opportunities for the children, staff, parents and all stakeholders of our small rural primary school.  “Works have now begun on the new building and we would like to use this opportunity to thank the children, parents and wider community for their continued support at this time.”

Education Minister John O’Dowd said the investment will enable improvements to be carried out across the school’s estate which would positively impact on pupils, teachers and staff.

Speaking about the minor works initiative, Mr O’Dowd added,

“I am confident that the substantial investment in minor works projects will help in the drive to improve educational standards.  The completion of all of these works will ultimately provide better facilities for our children and young people to learn in and an improved working environment for teachers and other school staff.  This ongoing significant investment also provides a boost to our local construction industry, helping to sustain jobs.”

Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon thanked the Minister for his efforts in supporting rural schools “despite a severely tight budget under constant threat from Tory cuts.

The south Armagh MLA said the £142,350, would be of huge benefit to an already tremendous school.

“This is not just an extension to a building but an investment in the young people of the area and a recognition of the work St Laurence O’Toole’s has done in this community,” she said.

“It will enable much needed improvements to be made to the building, including disabled access.”