A new era for shared education in the Omagh area was officially unveiled today by the Executive.
First Minister, the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster and the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness joined Education Minister, Peter Weir in Omagh to celebrate the opening of Arvalee School and Resource Centre.
Arvalee is the first school to be completed on Strule Shared Education Campus, officially opening its doors in September 2016.
Students presented a musical showcase, including songs they had written themselves based on the Strule ethos of ‘Broadening Horizons’. Produced over the past month through a series of music workshops, students have been exploring key themes including cohesion, collaboration and partnership.
Speaking at the event, First Minister, Arlene Foster said:
“This Executive is delivering for Northern Ireland and the £8.2million provided for the completion of this new school for Omagh is further proof.
“It is the first and important step in the completion of Strule Shared Education Campus which was an Executive commitment within the last Programme for Government. The project involves significant capital investment of over £150million into the construction of six core schools and associated shared education facilities to cater for the needs of more than 4,000 pupils.
“The Campus is designed to encourage cohesion, collaboration and partnership. It will be a vibrant place where our next generation, children from different backgrounds will benefit from excellent new facilities, learning together in an environment that will encourage respect for all. I am very much looking forward to the other schools, Christian Brothers Grammar School, Loreto Grammar School, Omagh Academy Grammar School, Omagh High School, and Sacred Heart College joining Arvalee on site for the planned campus opening in 2020.”
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said:
“This £8.2 million Executive investment in Arvalee School and Resource Centre signals a new era for shared education. This new purpose built school will enhance the education experience of pupils in the greater Omagh area for generations.
“Strule Shared Education Campus is at the forefront of shared education facilities and locating the schools together enables greater understanding and provides the space in which mutual respect and friendships can grow. The campus approach facilitates better connectivity between mainstream and special needs schools.
“The Strule campus has the potential to unite our community like never before and as the first school on the campus, Arvalee are important players. I wish the Principal, Board of Governors and most importantly the pupils of Arvalee every success in this next chapter of their history.”
Speaking during the event, Education Minister, Peter Weir said:
“This is a significant moment for both Arvalee School and Strule Shared Education Campus.
“As the first school on the campus, the opening of Arvalee is a major accomplishment within the overall Strule programme. I am very pleased to be here today to mark the achievements of everyone involved and celebrate alongside pupils and staff.
“I have particularly enjoyed the musical performances which have brought to life the significance of Strule Campus as an exciting new chapter for students, the greater Omagh area, and the education sector.
“The Campus will be a vibrant place where those from different backgrounds can learn together, promoting inclusion in terms of equal opportunity, good relations, equality of identity, respect for diversity and community cohesion.”