Education Minister, Peter Weir, approved Development Proposal (DP) 622 on 26 April 2021 after turning the same proposal down on 01 February 2021. Strangford Integrated College had requested reconsideration of DP 622, supported by the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and with legal assistance sourced via The PILS Project.
The proposal for Strangford Integrated College to grow year 8 pupils from 110 to 130, with an annual phased increase in the enrolment number from 670 to 760, and to take effect from 01 September 2021, was approved after the Minister reconsidered all the information.
Peter Weir advised that the lack of a wider area plan for the area, together with the considerable oversubscription for Strangford and other nearby Integrated Colleges showed that the additional numbers would be required to meet demand.
Responding to the Minister’s decision, Richard Lemon, Chair of IEF, said:
“We welcome the news and this is a great day for Strangford Integrated College and their parents and pupils. The IEF supported the school financially when it was independent in the academic years 1997 and 1998 prior to receiving Departmental funding and since then the school has grown from strength to strength. This announcement is welcomed by all the supporters of the College and of the entire integrated education movement. The IEF would like to thank the Public Interest Litigation Support (PILS) project for their support and advice.”
Sarah Corrigan, PILS Acting Project Manager & Solicitor, said:
“Challenging a DP decision is a significant task at the best of times, never mind while also trying to run a school during a global pandemic. The PILS team were delighted to be able to link up the IEF and Strangford Integrated College with quick legal support when they needed it most. The Minister’s reconsideration this week just shows the positive impact that can happen when local communities, human rights NGOs and legal professionals team up in the public interest.”
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