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Efforts need to be stepped up in search for new school site, says Tennyson

Efforts need to be stepped up in the search for a new site for Portadown Integrated Primary School, Alliance Upper Bann representative Eóin Tennyson has said.

 

The Alliance Councillor, who was recently selected as the party’s Upper Bann representative, said an increase in integrated education, particularly in the wake of the COVID pandemic, would be a massive boost for the constituency. The school is currently located off the Kernan Road in Portadown, and was given approval over five years ago to double its enrolment numbers to accommodate the growing student population.

 

“Demand for integrated education is growing across Upper Bann, as evidenced by the huge success of Portadown Integrated and Bridge Integrated primary schools, as well as a recent area micro-poll which showed 70 per cent of parents in Lurgan would support their local school moving to integrated status.

 

“Portadown Integrated was given approval over five years ago to double its enrolment numbers to accommodate the growing student population.

 

“Since then, the Department for Education has continually failed to provide a suitable site for a new school build, meaning this renowned school is having to rely more and more on mobile classrooms.

 

“I have lobbied the Department and written to the Education Minister asking they urgently step up and prioritise site acquisition efforts in cooperation with partners and statutory agencies. It is past time we saw progress this new school build.

 

“The Good Friday Agreement contains a specific pledge 'to facilitate and encourage integrated education' yet it is clear the resources have not been allocated to accommodate the huge and growing demand for integrated education locally in Upper Bann.”