A LOCAL principal says the future of education in Strabane is very bright despite his school having a deficit of over £1m.
David Hampton, principal of Strabane Academy, was speaking following the publication of an Audit Office report which listed the school’s debt at £1.4m.
Speaking to the Chronicle this week he said there is no surprises within the report.
“This figure was predicted by the Education Authority and Department of Education when Strabane Grammar and Strabane High School merged together back in 2011. In fact we are still well within our budget,” Mr Hampton explained.
“There is no doubting that our school, like many schools, is facing inescapable costs, but it must be remembered that Strabane Academy is a dual site. Therefore we have a duplication of costs.”
Strabane Academy was one of seven schools listed in the report with debts of over £1 million. Two of the schools have since closed.
Currently the Strabane school is undergoing a massive development with the building of a new state-of-the-art school on the Derry Road.
The project which will cost over £20m is due for completion in December next year and once open will see the closure of the Academy’s Liskey Road site.
“In terms of facilities Strabane is leading the way in education,” said Mr Hampton. “With the completion of our school the town will have three fantastic schools at secondary level, in Holy Cross College, Knockavoe School and ourselves.”
“This year one of our pupils got three A stars in his A-levels that is the best you can get,” explained Mr Hampton. “Our pupils and our staff are thriving.
“Strabane Academy has an exciting and brilliant future ahead, how can we not be excited.
“This will be a new era in education not only for the pupils but the entire community of Strabane who will be able to avail of our cutting edge facilities.”