The latest updates on the plan to build one of the largest special schools in the UK at a site in Ballymena were provided to those who attended an event in The Braid centre last week.
The evening, hosted by Mayor Audrey Wales, also served to raise awareness of disability discrimination.
Politicians, parents and members of the public were given a detailed presentation on the groundbreaking new designs for the state-of-the-art Castle Tower school building. A number of Castle Tower pupils spoke of their hopes for the new school while others entertained the audience with musical items.
Pictured are: Raymond McFeeters (Principal), Mayor of Ballymena, Cllr. Audrey Wales, Gerry Kenny (NEELB), Kathleen Anderson (Vice-principal) and Pat Mullan (Edmund Shipway) at a recent event in The Braid about the new Castle Tower School. INBT06-202AC
Mid and East Antrim Council’s Diversity Champion, Cllr Donna, Anderson, said: “The project outlined by Castle Tower is truly transformative, and I am excited by their proposals for a new school building that will be built around the needs of the pupils. From corridor widths, therapy rooms to bringing all their facilities under one building – this will be a state of the art school to cater for children who need it most.
“It will definitely be a major boost for the pupils and the staff who work so hard. This new school will be the largest of its kind in the UK and shows that the demand is there for these very special children to be taught. It will also be a beacon right across the country as to what facilities can be made available if you are prepared to fight a long, hard battle. In this case, l am pleased to say the battle was won!
“It was interesting to watch a video slide on the topic of disability hate crime from the victims viewpoint and it shows the levels able bodied people will stoop to ,with either violence or picking on those more vulnerable to get a laugh or be the big shot to brag to their friends about. T
“This is a deplorable form of victimisation and is not acceptable in any form. If there is anyone suffering from this kind of abuse please contact the Disability Hate Crime Advocacy on 02890661281. The help is available and is specific to your needs, it is taken very seriously.”
“From a parental side of things, my son will not get to learn in this new build but l will call in from time with Adam to have a look around and catch up with his friends and his previous teachers.
“I want to end by leaving a personal and special mention to the pupils who carried out the readings on what their school means to them, the singers and Samba band.. you were fantastic and l loved every minute. Be very proud of yourselves and l look forward seeing your new school in 2017.”