A ‘new era in the educational life of the Waterside’ began today when the new Ebrington Primary School was officially opened by Department of Education Permanent Secretary Derek Baker. The new £6.7m school boasts 14 classrooms, speech and language provision and double nursery unit.
The school shares a campus with Foyle College on Limavady Road. Work began on the two new schools in May 2015, with Ebrington PS moving from its original site at Lapwing way, and Foyle College moving from Northland Road.
“The opening of this state of the art building is the beginning of a new era in the educational life of the Waterside. It marks another milestone in the life of this school and the community,” said John Manning, Board of Governors Chairperson.
“It is the culmination of a process that has involved much work and effort on the part of many people and I pay tribute to all the former principals and teachers that have contributed so significantly to the education and development of generations of children since the original school opened in 1901.
“It is wonderful to be able to look back with fond memories of our old school while at the same time upholding its fine tradition. The new building will be the place where Ebrington children will build their capabilities and aspirations with the support of their teachers and the entire school community.”
It was an emotional day for principal Nigel Dougherty who is a past pupil of the school and has been at the helm for the past 21 years.
“Today is the culmination of a long journey. A journey that was delayed and almost abandoned on a number of occasions – a journey that lasted 15 years – a journey that has at last reached its conclusion,” said Mr Dougherty.
“I felt a huge responsibility on my shoulders as we embarked on moving the school from our roots in the Bonds Street area where I grew up, to the new site on the Clooney Campus – however we were always confident that this was the right strategic move for Ebrington.
“The concept of a co-location is hugely exciting and ground breaking. A flagship campus catering for 3-18 year olds is a unique concept. As partners and neighbours we will be able to share facilities, share expertise and facilitate the smooth transition of our pupils through their school journey.”
Education Authority chairperson Sharon O’Connor said the school was equipped to serve future generations of young people in the Waterside.
“One of the Education Authority’s key priorities is to ensure a fit for purpose, modern and sustainable schools’ estate which will help raise standards and close the attainment gap. This new school will undoubtedly contribute to that goal,” said Ms O’Connor.
“It epitomises everything that a modern school should be - from the latest CleverTouch Screens in every classroom to enhanced C2K wireless provision - the current and future pupils of Ebrington Primary School will be educated in surroundings that allow them to meet their individual talents and maximise the chances to reach their potential.”
Special guests, past and present staff and pupils along with educationalists from throughout the north-west attended the opening.