17/06/2019

22 NI Schools May Face Closure

22 schools in Northern Ireland may be considered for closure due to sustainability issues, the latest Education Authority report has found.

In some areas there are too many school places for the population size, while in others there are not enough places for pupils, as revealed in the third of three Annual Action Plans.

The EA produced the review in partnership with the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) and both bodies will now consult with each of the schools identified to assess where sustainability is an issue. Each school will also have a future pathway identified for them by March 2021.

EA Interim Director of Education, Kim Scott, said the challenge remains that many schools are too small to provide pupils a "broad and balanced" curriculum, including extra-curricular activities and high-quality pastoral care.
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She added: "In many areas of Northern Ireland there are too many school places for the size of the population, while in other areas and sectors, there are not enough places. Area planning seeks solutions to these issues to ensure all pupils have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Some areas may have relatively simple solutions such as increasing the enrolment number of a school, while other areas may require amalgamations, closures, change of school management type, or sharing of resources.

"The area planning process brings all education bodies in Northern Ireland around the same table to seek solutions to the often complex challenges including changing demographics and multiple school sectors within specific areas. All local solutions will of course be subject to full consultation.

"The purpose of area planning is to ensure that children, no matter where they live or what school sector they choose, have access to high quality education that is delivered in schools that are educationally and financially sustainable."

A mixture of primary, post-primary, catholic and integrated schools were among those identified as having sustainability issues.



(JG/MH)

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