St Anne's Primary School in Donaghadee is at the beginning of an exciting journey towards hopefully becoming an Integrated School.
The school was originally founded in 1932 and is situated on Millisle Road near the Town Centre. Pupils come from Donaghadee, Millisle, Newtownards, Bangor and surrounding areas as well as internationally from Europe and Asia. A recent parental vote on integration saw 96% of parents in support of the move.
North Down Alliance MLA Andrew Muir is supporting their bid and said; "I am delighted to hear the results of the recent parental ballot at St Anne's Primary School. The Alliance Party are strong supporters of Integrated Education and I am thrilled to offer my support to the school as it takes its next steps in the months ahead. I have met with the Principal and parents who are excited about this new direction for the school and the momentum this will offer to children from different traditions and backgrounds.
This is an excellent opportunity for the school and locale. With new housing developments earmarked for the Donaghadee area it is anticipated there will be an increase in demand for more school places in the coming years and the move to becoming Integrated School offers a bright future for the Town.
Integrated education is a key part of the Alliance Party's ethos, we believe that it helps us break down division in Northern Ireland by allowing children from all different backgrounds to learn together. It is vital that decisions regarding education are based on what is best for our children and our society."
Louise McCartney, a parent from St Anne's was delighted to hear the results of the parental ballot; "We are extremely happy over the landslide vote from parents in favour of integrated status and look forward to working with the wider community on this exciting new journey for the school."
Dr Stephen Farry MP for North Down commented; "This approach is also likely to the most viable means to sustain and maximise the number of local primary school places in Donaghadee. With the current level of development in the town, and an increasingly diverse population, the integrated option is likely to be the most viable and inclusive way forward.
It is also important to stress that Integrated Education is respectful of all faiths and seeks to accommodate them. For those parents who place a premium on that approach to education should be reassured of the strong precedents demonstrated elsewhere in Northern Ireland."
Local Alliance Councillor Gavin Walker added "This is an exciting time for parents, staff, governors, and the wider school family at St Anne's as they pursue their journey toward integration. I have already taken the opportunity to provide practical support as the school undertakes to engage with every local household.
The provision of an integrated Primary School would be really positive for Donaghadee as additional housing means we are welcoming so many new families into our community. For many years St Anne's has been an important source of education for local families from diverse backgrounds and traditions and this next step in its development is one I am confident our whole community will support."