The Deputy will be aware that the school to which he refers is among 40 schools in which structural and fire safety deficiencies have been identified.
A substantial programme of remediation work took place during the summer months in relation to these 40 schools and plans are well advanced for the next phases of the permanent remediation programme.
Over the summer, permanent remediation work was carried out in 14 schools, which enabled the removal of precautionary measures from those schools in full. Partial structural remediation was carried out in another school. Structural remediation work for another 6 schools is advancing since October.
Planned detailed structural investigations were carried out in 17 schools over the summer months also and, based on engineering advice, precautionary measures and other engineering solutions were put in place in parts of 13 of those schools, including the school in question, before they reopened after the summer holidays.
The bulk of the remainder of the Schools Remediation Programme is scheduled to be undertaken on a phased basis over 2020 and 2021 and work is well underway in my Department to underpin this. Details will continue to be communicated to the schools, including the school to which the Deputy refers, as my Department’s plans develop and progress.
Safety is the number one priority for pupils, staff, parents and others using the school buildings involved and I want to give assurances that the buildings with precautionary measures in place are safe to occupy. I also wish to acknowledge that remediation is a disruptive process for the schools involved and I want to thank all those connected with the affected schools for their continued patience and understanding as we roll out our plans to fix the problems that have emerged.