One of Mid Ulster’s best known grammar schools has been given the go-ahead for a £4m construction programme that will transform its campus.
St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt, which has topped exam league tables in Northern Ireland, will get a new music, drama and sixth form block, as well as general classrooms to replace eleven mobile classrooms that the school has been forced to use.
The upgrade, which was announced by Education Minister John O’Dowd, will also include new car parking and improvements to mechanical and electrical works in the O’Conor and Ward buildings, as well as link corridors and covered walkways to join the new building with the old campus.
Last year, St Mary’s was one of the Catholic voluntary grammar schools which claimed the coveted top slot in the exam league table, after it saw 100% of its pupils achieve five GCSEs including English and Maths at grades A* to C.
The school is currently collaborating with St Pius X College in the town in a three-year development plan, as part of the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education’s consultation document regarding the future provision of grammar and secondary education in Magherafelt and South Derry.
Speaking about the new investment, the Minister said: “I am delighted to announce that a further six schemes with a total value of £14million, can now proceed. Ongoing investment in our schools estate is essential if we are to continue to provide a quality education environment. The School Enhancement Programme is an important way of providing this much needed accommodation.”
The other schools on the programme are Victoria College, Belfast, Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry, Anahorish Primary School, Toomebridge, St Columb’s College, Derry and St Bernard’s Primary School, Newtownabbey
The Department of Education programme is targeted to meet the immediate and pressing needs in schools, through smaller scale works, where a new capital build capital works is not deemed deliverable.