Education minister told of ‘need’ for new build during visit to Carrickfergus Academy

Education Minister Peter Weir visited Carrickfergus Academy yesterday (Thursday) to learn more about the school’s bid to secure a single campus.

Carrickfergus Academy operates at the former Downshire School and Carrick College sites (images by Google).
Carrickfergus Academy operates at the former Downshire School and Carrick College sites (images by Google).

Formed by the mergers of Carrickfergus College and Downshire School, the academy has operated since September 2018 on a split site between North Road and Downshire Road in the Co Antrim town since.

Elected representatives from the area were in attendance too during the discussions which followed an invitation to the minister from East Antrim UUP MLA Roy Beggs.

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Mr Beggs said: “This meeting will be key in trying to secure departmental support for significant investment for the new school.”

A statement from the school read: “Carrickfergus Academy was delighted to welcome the Minister for Education Mr Peter Weir to the senior campus of the school this morning (Thursday). Along with our local political representatives of Mr Roy Beggs MLA, Mr David Hilditch MLA, Mr Gordon Lyons MLA, Mr John Stewart (in absentia) and Alderman Noel Williams, we were able to have useful discussions surrounding capital funding for the school and other key issues.”

In a statement issued afterwards, the DUP said: “Discussions were had around the new build single site school which was promised when Carrickfergus College and Downshire merged, as well as other capital investment and key issues.

“As a party we are committed to education and to giving our young people the best possible start in life. We currently have a number of projects we are working on with various primary and post primary schools in the town and will continue to work together to deliver much needed investment on the ground.”

Cllr Williams said he used the occasion to call for interim measures to improve access at the North Road entrance to the school where there’s “only a small lay-by” to accommodate drop off.

He said: “The minister was made aware of the access. It needs to be brought up to modern standards.”

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