Press release regarding the approval of a Development Proposal for Drumragh Integrated College
The school community of Drumragh Integrated College is delighted that at long last it has permission to expand. The Department of Education has decided to increase Drumragh’s enrolment from 580 to 645 students, over the course of the next five years and starting this September. This will permit the college to increase its Year 8 admissions from 96 to 105 each year, and also to increase the Sixth Form from 100 to 120 students. Drumragh has been requesting permission to grow since 2012, and we thank all those who have supported us along the way.
Drumragh Integrated College requested permission to expand for a variety of reasons. At the heart of it all is our desire to meet significant demand from parents and children within the college’s wide catchment area. We also aim to ensure that integrated education is available for those who would like it, across our local community. Thirdly, we are striving to maximise the opportunities available to those who attend Drumragh, so that each child may attain his or her personal best.
A number of important points are central to this Development Proposal. Drumragh Integrated College is the only post-primary integrated school in the Omagh area; for most applicants there is no alternative integrated provision within reasonable travelling distance. Since the college’s catchment area is wide, the proposed expansion is unlikely to have a significant impact on local schools, especially since the additional students are likely to be drawn from a variety of schools. It is important to note that the aim of the college’s expansion is to admit those who wish to attend Drumragh Integrated College, not to draw away those who wish to attend other schools in the area.
There have been some suggestions that the growth of Drumragh presents a threat to the Strule Shared Education Campus; however it can be seen that the expansion is actually quite modest in size. Drumragh supports any initiative that brings young people together in ways that shape their crucial values of mutual respect and acceptance; we encourage and support the Strule Campus in fulfilling this potential.
It has also been commented previously that Drumragh refused the opportunity to become a part of the Strule Campus. It might be helpful to set the record straight. The college was offered the option of abandoning its plans for a new building 10 years ago, when the shared campus was simply a concept with no certainty of going ahead. We made the only realistic decision possible, to press on with our much-needed new site, and we moved in in 2009. From that decision forward, there was no possibility of Drumragh being invited into the Strule Campus. That said, we are happy to thrive where we are, to play an active role within the Omagh Learning Community and to welcome our sister school, Omagh Integrated Primary school, to move in as our neighbours later this year. Together we are the Omagh Integrated Campus (OIC), and so Omagh finds itself in the privileged position of having both a shared and an integrated campus.
Northern Ireland, and indeed the global village in which we all live, need urgently a generation of young people who will create communities based on peace, respect and reaching out. Drumragh Integrated College will continue to play its part in fulfilling this vision. The future looks bright.
For further information or comment, please contact Mr Nigel Frith, Principal, on 028 8225 2440.