I am pleased to inform the Deputy that significant progress has been made on the remediation programme for 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 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 before they reopened after the summer holidays.
As well as this, a design solution has been devised for Ardgillan Community College. The design phase for this work is progressing and the project will move to delivery when this is completed.
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 as my Department’s plans develop and progress.
I want 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.
Schools, patrons, principals, teachers, students and parents should be assured that, since these issues were identified, safety is the number one priority for my Department and we are committed to remediating these schools to the highest possible standard.