What a difference a year makes! This time 12 months ago bricks and mortar were top of the Christmas wishlist at Braidside Integrated Primary & Nursery School.
One year on and their long-held dream of being housed in a new, purpose built school is closer than ever to coming true.
Originally founded by a group of parents working with the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, the school at Frys Road has now grown to an enrolment of over 350 pupils and delivers the full Northern Ireland Revised Curriculum - all from mobile-type buildings.
After three years at Wakehurst and a further 21 years in their current location Braidside has been ‘Building Together for Our Future’ for almost 25 years.
That work was finally rewarded at the very start of this year when Braidside was announced as one of 22 new school building projects approved for capital funding by Education Minister John O’Dowd.
So, what facilities do the teachers, parents and pupils of Braidside hope for when their dream of a new build comes to pass?
While P7 pupil Marc Rainey feels, like many of his peers, that a grass football pitch should be a top priority, P1 teacher Sonia Martin is desperate for a central play area for all foundation stage children to enjoy.
“Learning through play is key to early years’ education and it would be wonderful to set up activities for children to access at any time of the school day,” she said.
Parent Lorna McGaughey says: “The idea of our children finally being able to go to P.E. or run an errand without leaving a school building is something that cannot come quickly enough.”
Despite working in less than ideal buildings, teachers and pupils at Braidside have always worked hard to achieve great things.
Braidside’s inspection report in 2009 noted the high quality of the teaching and learning in the school and two years ago, they were one of the first schools in Northern Ireland to receive a ‘Kitemark for Integration’.
Now Braidside is looking forward to welcoming prospective new pupils and their parents to their annual P1 Open Event on December 11.
Sessions will run from 2.30-3.30pm and 5-6pm and are open to all interested in finding out more about the school.