22/03/2007

Four east Lisburn primary schools to close

Education Minister, Maria Eagle, has announced that Charley Memorial Primary School, Drumbo Primary School, Hillhall Primary School and Lambeg Primary School will close at the end of August 2007.

The Minister highlighted that the decision was made in the best educational interests of the pupils and said: “The decision to close a school is never an easy one and I carefully considered all arguments before reaching a decision. In every case, however, my top priority is the needs of the pupils involved.

“These four schools have served the East Lisburn community for many years and will leave a good legacy. I believe, however, that the long-term educational interests of the children concerned will be best served in a larger school, where they will be able to avail of increased educational opportunities. There are sufficient places at nearby primary schools that can provide the children with these opportunities.”

The combined enrolment at the four schools has fallen from 188 in 1999/2000 to 84 in 2006/07. Demographic decline in the Lisburn area has led to an over-provision of controlled primary school places - there are currently 1,038 surplus places in controlled primary schools. While it is recognised that there are new housing developments planned for the Lisburn area it is estimated that there is sufficient spare capacity within these schools to cope with the additional children from these new developments.

The Minister concluded: “The Board has stated that in event of the closures being approved, it will work in collaboration with DE, school governors, parents, community representatives and other interested parties, to secure suitable alternative school placements for those children displaced by the closure of the schools.”

(KMcA)


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