Former Catholic Maintained school in Ballyclare being refurbished ahead of nursery move

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Generations of families in Ballyclare are set to have “wonderful nursery provision” as Ballyclare Nursery School prepares to move to the former Tir na nOg Primary building.

The school, located on the Doagh Road, closed to pupils in 2020, with the diocese of Down and Connor gifting the facility to Ballyclare Nursery School.

The nursery school, currently operating from a site in Grange Drive, is set to close for the final time when the term ends in June.

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Plans are underway ahead of the nursery transferring to the former Catholic Maintained school building, with pupils expected to be taking up their places in September.

Mrs Emma Corry (centre) pictured with representatives from the Education Authority and William Rogers Construction at the former Tír na nÓg site in Ballyclare. (Pic: Ballyclare Nursery School).Mrs Emma Corry (centre) pictured with representatives from the Education Authority and William Rogers Construction at the former Tír na nÓg site in Ballyclare. (Pic: Ballyclare Nursery School).
Mrs Emma Corry (centre) pictured with representatives from the Education Authority and William Rogers Construction at the former Tír na nÓg site in Ballyclare. (Pic: Ballyclare Nursery School).

Principal of Ballyclare Nursery, Emma Corry, said: “The work to refurbish the former Tir na nOg PS building started in March.

"There is a full refurbishment of the building being undertaken. The layout is being remodelled to suit the needs of the nursery school.

“We’ll finish in the existing building at the end of this school year in June and we hope to be able to move into our new school at the beginning of September.

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"We will still have our current number of 156 children on role.

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"Since taking up post in Ballyclare Nursery School I’ve introduced several new multi-cultural initiatives to the pre-school curriculum. Understanding the diversity and culture of others plays an important part in our learning.

"The site would lend itself more easily for community wide events such as these. We work closely with both Fairview and Ballyclare Primary, our two main feeder schools. We’d be in a more central location to be able to walk to both schools as currently we cannot walk down to Ballyclare Primary as it is too far for our children.

"Ballyclare’s undergoing extensive housing development and this is bringing new families to the area. We see this as an ideal opportunity to re-establish our school within the community for the needs of future generations.”

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Thanking everyone who has supported the development, Mrs Corry added: “The diocese of Down and Connor have been extremely generous in giving the nursery school the former Tir na nOg building. The building and site were gifted by the Sacred Heart Parish.

"This is a unique situation that will enable our school to flourish and develop in an amazing new location. The plans for the refurbishment have been developed in a bespoke way to meet the ever-changing needs of the nursery school. We feel extremely fortunate to be in this ground-breaking position and the community will reap the benefits of having this wonderful nursery provision for many generations to come.

"The staff and governors of the nursery school are immensely grateful to the church without whom we wouldn’t have this wonderful opportunity. Also, to everyone within the Ballyclare community and further afield, who have shown their support to this project.

"We’re absolutely delighted that the children of Ballyclare and surrounding areas will finally have a fit for purpose building to allow us to continue to provide the outstanding nursery education in Ballyclare Nursery.”

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Non-monetary advantages of the Tir Na Nog site which have been highlighted by Ballyclare Nursery School’s staff and Board of Governors include parking provision, the Doagh Road facility being considered a more neutral location and it’s proximity to the town’s library and Ballyclare park.

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