The government has pledged £140 million for the construction of a new ‘shared education campus’ that will eventually see six schools built at a former army base in Co Tyrone.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, made the announucement during a visit to the site in Omagh today.
The Strule Shared Education Campus, to be built at the former Lisanelly and St Lucia barracks straddling the River Strule, will bring six schools and an estimated 4,200 pupils together.
The six schools will then share certain resources, including sports facilities.
It will be the only campus in Northern Ireland where students with moderate and severe learning difficulties will be educated alongside mainstream schools.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt. Hon. Karen Bradley MP, said: “I am delighted to announce the allocation of £140m to support the development of the world-class Strule Project which will bring together six schools and 4,200 pupils.
“UK Government funding will help support integrated and shared education in Northern Ireland and break down barriers through cohesion to give young people the valuable skills they need to succeed.”
She continued: “Our strong commitment has been demonstrated in recent years in the 2013 Economic Pact with the Executive and in both the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements.
“It is our ambition that we ensure all young people can benefit from a high-class education and fulfil their potential, irrespective of their background.
“The children that I have met today and throughout my time as Secretary of State have made a huge impression on me. They are the future of Northern Ireland and they deserve the best they can possibly have.”
Ms Bradley continued: “The Strule project demonstrates the huge importance of devolved Government in Northern Ireland to drive forward projects like this for the benefit of the whole community.
“It is clear that people in Northern Ireland want local politicians in place working hard to deliver and drive transformation across the education sector and wider public services to create a Northern Ireland fit for the future. A restored Executive is also urgently needed to give Northern Ireland the best possible chance of building on further opportunities such as the devolution of corporation tax rates.”
She added: “This is my priority too, and this is why my focus is on redoubling efforts to get the political parties back into talks to restore an Executive at the earliest possibility.”