APPROXIMATELY £10,000 has been spent in the current financial year on a new build for Rossmar School in Limavady.
Education Minister John O’Dowd announced earlier in the year that Rossmar School, which caters for many children with multiple and profound learning difficulties, was to receive a new build after viewing for himself the state of the facilities at the school.
Speaking a few days before Mr O’Dowd announced that funding would be made available for a new build, Rossmar’s Principal, Brian McLaughlin told the Sentinel: “A new build is needed urgently for this school.”
He added: “One of the issues with the place is the set of 13 concrete steps which are the main route of access to a lot of vital facilities in the school.
“The children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and those in wheelchairs cannot access those facilities. They cannot be expected to walk across the carpark in the snow – sometimes for months at a time. The children have their lunch brought to them in their classrooms.
“In a very real sense this means that they are being excluded from the rest of the school because the physical state of the place leaves much to be desired. We are promoting inclusion at this school, in line with the policy of the board, indeed I have just been out this morning at an induction to promote inclusion.”
The Minister agreed with Mr McLaughlin’s assessment of the facilities at Rossmar, and announced that funding would be made available for a new build for the school.
He has since been asked by North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey “how much finance has been expended to date; and in the current financial year” on Rossmar and other capital build projects for schools throughout Northern Ireland.
Mr O’Dowd informed the North Antrim DUP MLA that £10,000 has been spent to date on a new build for Rossmar, and a further £20,315,000 has been spent on 18 capital build projects throughout Northern Ireland, including Ebrington Primary School in Londonderry, Foyle College in Londonderry and Eglinton Central Primary School.