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Brookeborough PS and St Mary’s PS pupils visited Parliament Buildings and asked the politicians to get behind their shared campus proposal. The pupils received a guided tour and had the chance to meet their local MLAs and members of the Education Committee.
After 45 years of successful cross-sectoral co-operation, the schools are hoping the next step in their historic and on-going collaboration will be a shared campus in the village. This will provide enhanced and sustainable educational provision for all sections of the community in Brookeborough and it will, in line with government policy, build a more shared society for the future.
Local MLA Arlene Foster said “"I was very pleased to welcome the pupils from St. Mary's and the Brookeborough Controlled primary school. It is always good to bring young people to Stormont so they can experience some of what they may see on TV in the evening news! I have watched as the two schools have continued to work together and am very pleased they continue to collaborate in a meaningful way. I am off course supportive of the proposal for a shared campus and look forward to a positive response from the Education Minister."
In January this year the Education Minister, John O’Dowd MLA launched the Shared Campus Programme which will substantially increase the number of schools sharing facilities. The two Brookeborough primary schools are the only schools in Fermanagh to apply. The decision on whether they are one of the successful applicants is expected to be made in a matter of weeks.
A community consultation carried out by the schools found overwhelming support for the proposal of a shared campus. The schools have also received formal support from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, the Western Education and Library Board and Fermanagh District Council.
Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Sean Lynch said “We were delighted to welcome the Brookeborough schools to the Assembly. The children really enjoyed their visit and the school communities are all excited about their future shared campus plans. It is a great proposal, one which has received overwhelming support from Brookeborough and the wider community and one which will deliver sustainable, quality education.”
Dermot Finlay, Principal of St Mary’s PS said “This was a great opportunity for the children. They really enjoyed their visit to Stormont and learning about the roles and responsibilities of those in leadership. Our schools enjoy working together and we are all hopeful and excited about our future plans. A shared campus is the natural evolution of our shared education work and it will cement the already established relationship between our two schools.”
Hazel Gardiner, Principal of Brookeborough PS said “Brookeborough has been hailed as the trailblazers when it comes to shared education. Our two schools have been pioneers in developing cross-community linkages over the last 45 years. This work has resulted in excellent educational and community relations outcomes and as the children were saying to the MLAs during the visit a shared campus will allow this good work to continue. It is also, as the Minister has been asking for, a bottom-up, local solution which meets local needs.”