Relocation of Forge IPS and New Build Project

Review of Controlled Education Provision in Forge Integrated Primary School

Between 2016 and 2020 three Development Proposals were submitted and subsequently approved by the Department of Education to relocate Forge Integrated Primary School to the site of the former Knockbreda High School, to build a new school on that site, with attached learning support units, and to build a 52 place nursery unit on site.

An integrated design team have beeen appointed to design the buildings and planning is at an advanced stage. As is often the case with large scale projects, progress has not happened as quickly as we might hope for, however the process is making headway and a planning permission application is pending.

On 22 February 2024 we received the very disappointing news that previously ringfenced Fresh Start Agreement funding to build our new school has been withdrawn.

This affects our school and 10 others. The UK Government have reallocated £150 million of earmarked Fresh Start capital funding to the resource package being made available to the Northern Ireland Executive, as part of the settlement linked to the restoration of the Stormont Government.

The Department of Education have reassured us, that despite the removal of this funding, the Education Minister has agreed to have our project placed into the Department of Education’s funded major capital works programme.

This means that the design process for our new school, which is at a very advanced stage, will proceed despite this upset, so that the project can be completed when construction funding becomes available.

This gives us some comfort and puts us in a strong position to proceed when the capital funding situation improves.

What is very disappointing is that the firm timeframe for projects funded through Fresh Start to be underway by 2026 no longer applies and we can no longer be certain of when the project will be funded for construction.

Members of the Board of Governors of the school will be meeting with officials from the Department of Education soon. We will also be seeking dialogue with public representatives to pursue the best possible way to redress the situation, and get the accommodation and resource that our children and community deserve.

While this news is disappointing, Forge Integrated Primary School, as one of the longest established integrated primary schools in Northern Ireland has proved its resilience when faced with setbacks over the years.

Our focus has always been to provide an excellent shared learning environment where current pupils can thrive while maintaining a positive and forward-looking focus to delivering improvements, the new school project being one of many of these.

While we deal with these setbacks, we will continue to work hard to make our school the best possible place for our children to learn and grow, so that they in turn can make Belfast a better place for us all, whether under an old roof or a new one. 


This page will be updated with relevant links etc. as the process evolves.