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Knockavoe School and Resource Centre

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the new Speech and Language Unit and Behavioural Unit at Knockavoe School and Resource Centre in Strabane was completed; what the total capital expenditure on the unit was; when this unit will be commissioned to operate; what the reason was for the delay in the commissioning of the unit; for what reason the unit did not have sufficient recurrent expenditure to open upon completion; and if he will make a statement. (81815)

The new Knockavoe School and Resource Centre, Strabane, including Speech and Language Unit and Behavioural Units, was completed in June 2005 at a total capital cost of £3.68 million.

The school is to accommodate pupils with both severe learning difficulties (SLD) and with moderate learning difficulties (MLD). In planning for the establishment of the Speech and Language and Behavioural Units, the Western Education and Library Board always envisaged that it would be a phased three-year project in order to allow time to establish what staffing complement would be required for the pupils and to establish the extent of provision required within the two units.

Additional recurrent funding of £170,000 was allocated to Knockavoe School in 2005-06 to develop staff resources and equipment, with a further £174,000 provided in 2006-07 for additional staffing costs. The final phase is planned for 2007-08 with the opening of the Speech and Language and Emotional/Behavioural Disorder Units. Funding of £490,000 has been earmarked for 2007-08 to facilitate this and includes for teaching and classroom assistant staff and equipping of both units.