THE North Eastern Education and Library Board has launched a consultation over the future of Garvagh High School.
The Board says it wishes to engage in consultation with the Board of Governors, parents and staff of the school before reaching a final decision.
NEELB says it is “seeking the views of those most directly involved at local level” with the Main Street school.
At a meeting of the North Eastern Education and Library Board in Janaury it was agreed to initiate consultation with the Board of Governors on the future of the school.
The NEELB consultation document says: “The North-Eastern Education and Library Board has provided support to Garvagh High School as the school has experienced a sharp decline in enrolment.
“Unfortunately the enrolment situation and the financial pressures on the school now require the Board to consider the future of the school.
“The Board is also required to ensure that it makes effective use of resources and having more school places than is necessary ties up resources that could be better used to improve the overall quality of education.
“Whilst recognising the contribution that the school makes to the local community the issue remains that action needs to be taken to address the low and declining enrolment, the increasing financial deficit and the curriculum demands of the ‘Entitlement Framework’.
NEELB’s Education Committee will consider the results of local consultation exercise when it is completed on April 27. A deputation from the Board of Governors may also choose to attend the Education Committee or the Board.
“Should the Board arrive at a decision to change the nature of existing educational provision in the area, it is required to publish a Development Proposal outlining any proposed changes to the school,” says the consultation document.
“All those affected by the proposal will be notified and will have the opportunity to make representations expressing their views.”
The Board could then choose to keep the school open or close it on August 31 or as soon as possible thereafter.
Current pupils would be transferred to other schools in the area in accordance with current open enrolment and transfer procedures.
The document goes on to explain: “The Board will endeavour to support parents as they seek to transfer their children to alternative schools.
“Advice regarding availability of places in neighbouring schools and the procedure for admission is obtainable from the Board’s Transfer Officer.”
The consultation document can be downloaded at http://www.neelb.org.uk/schools/consultation/garvagh-high/