School to be part of first integrated campus
in Northern Ireland
by JULIE ANN SPENCE
Fort Hill Integrated College
Principal Mrs Marian Getty, Mr Adrian Blythe,
Chairman of the College's Board of Governors and
pupils Rachael McCready, Simon Morrison, Roberta
Todd, Emma Beggs, Nigel Prentice and Christopher
Sanaghan with Fort Hill Primary Principal John
Walsh, Board of Governors Chairman Mr David Dunlop
and pupils Ellie Snape, Becky McCreanor, Christopher
Walker, Kirsty Strong, Ben Kenny, Kgalalelo Kambule,
Chloe Graham and Daniel Jordan. U54008-532CDFort
Hill votes for change
Fort Hill votes for change
FORT Hill Primary School in Lisburn is on the
road to integrated status in a move which will make it part of
the first truly integrated 'campus' in Northern Ireland.
The Primary School recently balloted parents
on whether to become integrated, following in the footsteps of
Fort Hill College, which shares the same site and transformed
ten years ago.
The school's principal Mr John Walsh thanked
the parents for taking part in the ballot, which was in favour
of transforming to integrated status.
"We are living in a changed world," said Mr
Walsh. "The working ethos of the school has always been
integrated and all children are treated equally.
"The most important and exciting thing about
this is that it is unique. I don't know of any other campus
where you will have 3-18 year olds in integrated education on
the one site. Fort Hill could be a flagship campus."
Fort Hill College Principal, Mrs Marian Getty, said their
transformation to integrated status ten years ago had been a
positive experience and, with 90% of Fort Hill Primary pupils
progressing through to the College, the change in the primary
would further enhance the close relationship between the two
The Board of Governors of Fort Hill Primary are
now working on a development proposal and will then seek the
approval of the Education Minister. If approval is granted, the
school hope to attain integrated status by September 2009.
Mr Walsh said: "As a school we believe that
education is about allowing children to acquire knowledge, to
develop their skills and talentsand to use those attributes to
achieve their full potential. Alongside this we attempt to
provide a wide range of learning opportunities for all children
to help them grow into independent, responsible people.
"That is what we will strive for at all times
so that our pupils can confidently take their place in the
community in which they live."
Schools push for new buildings
AS Fort Hill Primary School moves toward
integrated status, the principals of both Fort Hill Primary and
Fort Hill College are hoping to develop a 'community school' on
the Lisburn campus.
With the two schools sharing a single site in
the heart of the city, Mr John Walsh and Mrs Marian Getty are
pressing for new school buildings and the development of the
"The schools are still growing and we need
more space," they explained. "We need to expand and we need more
"We would like to see a community facility with
flexible use of the site. We have the raw materials here for it.
We could have superb facilities and we feel we are now in a
position to move this forward."
The Principals have met with the Chief
Executive of the South Eastern Education and Library Board to
discuss the future of the schools.
"We want to develop the site sooner rather
than later to provide a community school, giving something back
to the community we serve, which has supported us over the
years," added Mr Walsh and Mrs Getty.
Support voiced for transformation
THE Principal of Fort Hill Primary, Mr John
Walsh, has thanked Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson and the
Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) for
their support during the transformation process.
In response, Chief Executive Officer of NICIE,
Michael Wardlow, gave his full support to Fort Hill's decision
to work towards achieving integrated status. "I welcome the
decision by Fort Hill Primary to take on integrated status. This
will make the Fort Hill campus the first of its kind in Northern
Ireland and We look forward to working with the school as they
continue on this journey."
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson also voiced his support for
the school and added: "The primary school is now up to its limit
in terms of numbers and there is a crying need for a new school
building. It would be good to see the campus expanded to
facilitate the growing number of pupils attending the school."