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Northern Ireland schools 'let down' by UK government says DUP education minister

Northern Ireland's education sector feels neglected by the UK government, according to DUP Education Minister Paul Givan.
He voiced his concerns after funds for 10 new shared and integrated school buildings were withdrawn, leading him to seek additional budget support.

The previously allocated £150 million was redirected into a wider £3.3 billion financial aid package aimed at the revival of Stormont's coalition government.

The 10 affected school projects span across Northern Ireland, from County Down to County Fermanagh. These projects were initially part of a funding commitment from the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement. However, with construction costs rising, only nine other projects in the contract phase can proceed with the remaining funds.

The UK government has repurposed more than £700 million of existing and new funds to increase the Northern Ireland Executive's spending power, offering flexibility in deciding how to utilize the non-earmarked funds.

School principals from the affected institutions have expressed their frustration with the withdrawal of funds. Several schools are dealing with outdated buildings or temporary structures that are no longer viable.

Despite the setback, proponents of integrated education remain hopeful that the necessary funds will be restored.

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