Shared campus for Brookeborough schools moves closer

St Mary's Primary School principal, Dermott Finlay  RMG29

St Mary’s Primary School principal, Dermott Finlay RMG29


THE PLANNED shared campus between Brookeborough PS and St Mary’s PS has officially been given the go ahead by the Government. 
Last week in a joint announcement, First Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Education Minister John O’Dowd confirmed the shared campus for the two Fermanagh primary schools was to be included in the ‘Together: Building  a United Community’, with funding from the Stormont House Agreement. 
Both St Mary’s and Brookeborough PS have been pioneers in developing cross-community links over the past four decades and in recent years they have been working tirelessly together to strength the relationship between the schools. The proposal for their shared campus, which has been widely supported by parents, staff and the wider community, would see the merger of both schools onto a single site, but with each still retaining their own identity.
Principal of Brookeborough PS, Hazel Gardiner, outlined the excellent relationship between the schools, going back to the 1970s and lasting through challenging times.
“Over many years both schools have reached out the hand of friendship, working together in the interests of our pupils and the broader community,” she said. 
“In more recent years thanks to the Fermanagh Trust we have been able to partake in a wider range of activities, developing even closer bonds and today we stand on the threshold of a shared campus for our children and the community. It is really exciting news for Brookeborough that we will be able to cement the already established relationship between our two schools.”
Dermot Finlay, principal of St Mary’s, added: “Our pioneering work together has resulted in outstanding educational and societal outcomes. The excellent news that our shared campus is going ahead is a huge step in our journey together and allows us to build on that good work. We are all very excited about our future plans.” 
St Mary’s and Brookeborough PS pupils have been taking part in regular shared classes and projects in recent years, even sharing teachers at times. 
Lauri McCusker, Director of the Fermanagh Trust which has helped facilitate shared education in Fermanagh congratulated the schools on the announcement and commended the schools on their work together. 
“The sharing they have done beyond the curricular requirements is very impressive and it is clear to see the benefits that come from working collaboratively,” he said. “The principle is to take things incrementally, to start with what people want rather than trying to force it.  It’s a great step forward for the Brookeborough community and we wish the schools well for their work ahead.”

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