Catholic schools to merge in major education review

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LOCAL Catholic schools could disappear in a radical shake-up of Catholic post-primary education.

In a report published on Tuesday, the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education (NICCE) provided detailed recommendations for the future of schools in the sector.

Every single Catholic post-primary school has been included in the review, which could see five closures and a further 23 schools disappear through mergers and amalgamations.

Crippling budget cuts and falling pupil numbers prompted the review, which began in 2010.

In the Down and Connor diocese Dominican College Portstewart, Loreto College Coleraine, Our Lady of Lourdes High School Ballymoney, St Joseph’s College Coleraine will be reduced to two schools, one in Coleraine and one in Portstewart.

Propsals to keep a secondary school in Ballymoney will be monitored.

In Co Antrim Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle and St Killians’ College, Carnlough will remain unchanged, while St Benedict’s College Randalstown, St Louis Grammar Ballymena and St Patrick’s College Ballymena will form a partnership leading to one school but with provision in each town.

In North Derry, a formal collaboration of two schools, one in Limavady and another at a site still to be determined will replace St Mary’s High School, Limavady

St Patrick’s College, Dungiven and St Patrick’s and St. Brigid’s College, Claudy remain unchanged.

In South Derry, St Paul’s College, Kilrea and St Mary’s College, Clady will merge to become one school. St Colm’s High School, Draperstown and St Patrick’s College, Maghera remain unchanged.