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Representatives of Brookeborough PS and St Mary’s PS, who have applied to the Department of Education for shared campus funding, visited two shared campuses in Scotland to meet principals and see how it works for them on the ground. Principals, Boards of Governors and staff from both schools and the Playstation toured and met staff and pupils at St Ignatious PS with Wishaw Acadamy and All Saint PS with Rochsolloch PS.
Hazel Gardiner, Principal of Brookeborough PS said “Our visit to the schools in Glasgow provided us with the opportunity to see the advantages from an educational, community and economic perspective that are possible through the establishment of a shared campus. We were shown how the identities and ethos of two individual schools can be maintained and promoted whilst at the same time strengthening the respectful relationships between them”.
Dermot Finlay, Principal of St Mary’s PS added “I was delighted with the visit. The principals, staff and pupils were so warm and welcoming. The buildings are great and the vision and cooperation of the schools is fantastic. It was, as some of the Governors said, quite ‘inspirational’. It was very interesting and informative to actually experience the working model of a shared campus. It was also very significant to hear the principals and pupils talk honestly about the pride they have for their own school and the real feeling of mutual respect for the other school and its staff and pupils. Everyone’s a winner was the clear message. An honest whole team approach to cooperation and certainly no loss of identity or ethos. Very child centred in their approach and a lovely atmosphere pervaded all the schools.”
The Brookeborough schools are one of fifteen applicants to the Shared Campus Programme. The decision on those who will receive funding is expected to be announced by the end of June. A consultation proved the community are supportive and the schools are optimistic that a shared campus will be the next step in their journey after 45 years of shared education and collaborative work together. This visit to Scotland will surely prove worthwhile in planning the detail of their campus should their submission prove to be successful.
Commenting on the visit, Florence Brunt, Chair of Board of Governors for Brookeborough PS said “This was a superb experience, seeing how well a shared campus works for these schools. Both campuses were incredibly impressive. Sharing and cooperation was clearly evident while identity and ethos was retained. Ultimately it showed how well a shared campus can work.” Seamus Greene Board of Governor at St Mary’s PS added “It was a pleasure to meet the Principals, we all very much appreciated their efforts and their support for our future plans. Very much a clear sense of one campus working together and also very much a clear sense of two distinct schools. Overall this has reiterated that this is the right model for the Brookeborough schools.”