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OIPS enshrined in history books as new school opens

ALMOST a year ago, the current and past pupils, teachers and staff of Omagh Integrated PS bid a fond farewell to their old school during a colourful party which took place amidst the mobile classrooms on the Ballynahatty Road.

Fast-forward to the present day, and the OIPS community have once again a reason to celebrate, as the official opening of the school’s brand new building is now just a heartbeat away.

Located proudly beside Drumragh Integrated College, the permanent school build has been hailed as a ‘celebration of the advancement in integrated both education locally and internationally’.

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The state-of-the-art creation on the Crevenagh Road, built by Woodvale Construction, includes 14 vibrant classrooms, a resource area, sports hall, catering and dining facilities, staff areas, a nursery school and a children’s centre.

Guest speaker at the opening ceremony on May 17 will be best-selling author, broadcaster and peace-builder, Tony Macauley who promotes and works with integrating communities and peace projects at both home and abroad.

Baroness May Blood, who was a member of the House of Lords and the Campaign Chair of the Integrated Education Fund charity will further be in attendance.

A spokesperson from the school described the official opening of the new build as ‘the realisation of a dream for many’. “It is due to the vision, hard work and dedication of the past and present governors, parents, principals and staff that we are at the threshold of consolidating integrated education for the Omagh area and beyond for many years to come,” they said.

“We’re confident that the new build will enhance further the learning experiences our pupils already receive, and we all look forward with great excitement, to the beginning of a new chapter in the continuing story that is Omagh Integrated Primary & Nursery School.”

Making history

History was made in Omagh in 1989, when a group of pioneering parents launched the Omagh Integrated School Project after being inspired by the launch of Integrated Education in Enniskillen.

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Their fruitful efforts were rewarded in September 1990 when Omagh Integrated PS opened its doors for the first time, after just 18 months of planning.

Under the leadership of Maureen Butler, the school welcomed 32 pupils across years one to seven, while 24 children enrolled in its nursery.
Eric Bullick took over principalship in 1993 and a period of intense school expansion and improvement commenced.

He was succeeded in 2009 by Nigel Cairns, who held the post until 2014, when Anthony Bradley assumed the role of principal.

They, along with all the other staff, parents and governors through the past three decades, have continued to raise standards even further.

And in just over a fortnight’s time, OIPS will be enshrined in the history books once more when the new school build will officially open under the watch of fervorous crowds who believe wholeheartedly in integrated education.

Representatives from the NI Council for Integrated Education and the Department of Education as well the first school parent governors, teachers, clergy and Woodvale Construction Company will also be in attendance during the very special event.

• All past pupils, parents and staff are welcome to attend the official opening of Omagh Integrated PS’ new build. The official opening ceremony will take place on Friday, May 17, 2019 from 11am until 2pm. If you would like to receive an invitation, contact the school ASAP by emailing abradley561@c2kni.net or call 028 8224 2008.

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