‘no final decision made on Loreto Grammar School’s future…’

The judicial review of the Northern Ireland Education Minister Sinn Féin’s Caitriona Ruane’s refusal to grant funding for, Catholic grammar school, Loreto College‘ GS’s planned £14.6million new build on its existing site got underway today.

As reported in September when leave for the review was granted

Loreto Grammar was promised £14.6m investment through a public private partnership for a new build on its existing site in 2004 by the then direct-rule minister Barry Gardiner, as part of a major expansion plan for schools across Northern Ireland.

Under the initiative, commercial companies would pay for schools to be built and take annual payments as a type of mortgage.

Since then, the minister Caitriona Ruane said she favours a shared education campus on the site of the old Lisanelly military barracks in the town.

Lawyers for the grammar school are now seeking a ruling from the court that the department was wrong to refuse the funding.

The minister has stressed she is working under serious budgetary pressures and is believed to be keen for all options to be fully assessed.

Today the BBC reports that

The Department of Education said there was no case to answer as no final decision had been made on Loreto’s future. It said the minister could not be bound by the policy of a previous devolved government.

Except that Loreto College’s new build on-site was one of the eight capital build projects turned down by the NI Education Minister in July on the basis that they did not comply with departmental policy.