NEELB reveals plans for primary schools shake-up

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THE North Eastern Education and Library Board, after publishing its draft area plans for the future primary school provision up to the year 2025, is now seeking responses from schools and local communities.

The plan, prepared in conjunction with the Catholic Council for Maintained Schools and other education stakeholders, reflects the Terms of Reference set by the Department of Education and previous engagement with schools.

In Ballymoney, the phased closure of Dalriada Prep will be completed by August 2014.

In Coleraine, Cullycupple Primary School is earmarked for closure, while Garvagh PS and Gorran PS may merge. In Moyle, there are plans to look at merging Armoy PS, Straidbilly PS, Barnish PS and St Olcan’s PS.

Planning statement for each of the Boards schools is also contained within the plans.

Board spokesman said: The Board recognises the challenge of configuring school provision to meet the future needs of pupils and has indicated in this draft plan possible reviews of current school provision that will ensure that all children have access to education in viable and sustainable schools.

“ is important that that all children have the best opportunity to achieve their potential in the primary stage of their education and it is our intention to work with the schools and the community to act in the best interests of these children.”

Education Minister, John O’Dowd said: “I encourage anyone with an interest in education in their local area to examine the plans and make their views known. A dedicated website, which includes a detailed questionnaire, has been set up on which people can leave any comment they wish on the plans.

“This is an opportunity for an informed and mature debate that will shape future primary education provision and help identify local solutions that will benefit all children and young people. I hope to hear innovative ideas, including the consideration of possible sharing of accommodation and resources.”

Copies of the plan and consultation materials can be accessed at www.neelb.org.uk Consultation will remain open until 28 June 2013.