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New North Coast School 'Causeway Academy' To Open In September 2026

local news Jun 12, 2024

The merger of three North Coast schools has taken another step forward with the confirmation of the Principal Designate and official name for the school.

Causeway Academy will be the name of the unified school, a significant development for education in Northern Ireland.

Coleraine College, Dunluce School, and North Coast Integrated College will come together under this new name, based on a state-of-the-art campus being developed in partnership with Ulster University. 

The location of the new school is yet to be decided.

This collaboration makes Causeway Academy the first school in Northern Ireland to be partially managed by a university, marking a pioneering move in the region.

Designed to accommodate 1,200 pupils, Causeway Academy will be a co-educational, non-selective controlled integrated post-primary school, catering to students aged 11 to 18.
The Education Authority and the Interim Board of Governors have recently appointed Ms Ruth Harkness as the principal designate of Causeway Academy. 

The name was chosen following extensive consultations with pupils and staff from the three schools involved in the merger.

Ms Harkness will take up her post in October 2024, with Causeway Academy set to open for the start of the September 2026 term.

Jim McCartney, Chairperson of the Interim Board of Governors for Causeway Academy, has welcomed the appointment. He said:

“Ms Harkness’s commitment, dedication and exceptional leadership has resulted in positive change and continued success at Craigavon Senior High School. During her time there, the school has achieved its highest student outcomes and seen a significant growth in student numbers, with Ms Harkness leading the transition from delivery on two campuses to one all while maintaining a student-centred approach.

“At the heart of her leadership lies values that firmly place the student at the centre. She is committed to creating a nurturing and integrated learning environment which meets the needs of all young people. Ms Harkness is committed to fostering an inclusive community where diversity is valued and celebrated.”

Commenting on her recent appointment, Ms Harkness said:

“I am honoured to lead this new Integrated school in partnership with Ulster University, bringing three schools in the Causeway area together to create a shared vision and collective ambition valued by all in our community. Our students deserve the best, and I am committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and academically enriching environment. Together, we will create a school where every student feels valued, challenged, and prepared for their exciting futures.”

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