The Minister said: “Children across Northern Ireland have the right to be educated in schools which are comfortable and safe, are of good quality and are properly designed and resourced to support their learning.
“I have therefore commissioned, as a matter of priority, a Capital Investment Strategy for Education which sets out a compelling vision for a responsive, agile and innovative programme of capital investment clearly aligned to wider education and Executive policy.”
The Minister continued: “Across my department’s capital programmes, in every constituency and in every school sector, there are a wide range of much-needed investment projects, which urgently need to be delivered.
“Consequently, I have submitted funding bids of £528million to the Department of Finance to meet education capital needs next year. As an absolute minimum, I require an additional £100million of capital above the draft budget allocation to meet pressures in regard to Special Educational Need placements.
“I am also lifting the pause that had been imposed in the absence of a Minister, on a number of new build projects for schools in the worst conditions. Integrated Consultancy Teams will be appointed for each project. This will ensure a pipeline of investment for future years.”
The Minister concluded: “I intend to build an education estate that is worthy of our children, our excellent teachers and our ambitions for a prosperous and dynamic Northern Ireland.”