Official: Garvagh High School to close next August

Garvagh High School.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Garvagh High School.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

EDUCATION Minister, John O’Dowd, has approved a development proposal to close Garvagh High School.

The enrolment at the school has declined in recent years with a total of 26 pupils enrolled in the 2012/13 academic year.

Commenting on the decision the Minister said: “A steep decline in enrolments has prompted the North Eastern Education and Library Board to put forward a proposal to close Garvagh High School.

“A post-primary school of this size is limited in its ability to provide a broad and balanced curriculum offering flexibility and choice to its pupils.

“On top of this concern, there are alternative post-primary places in the area that can provide the necessary educational provision for local children. I am therefore persuaded of the need to approve the proposal to close the school.”

The school will close with effect from August 31 next year.

DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan has described the decision to close the school as “devastating.”

Councillor McQuillan said: “ The Education Minister was really only confirming what everyone in the town already knew.

“There are only 21 pupils left in the school at the minute.

“It’s sad, as Garvagh High School is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.”

The MLA confirmed that parents took steps to relocated their children at the start of the school term, with most being transfered to Limavady High School.

“It’s a sad day for education in Garvagh. Its not only the people that will suffer, the closure will have a knock on effect on local business.

“Garvagh High School has served the community well, staff past and present should be proud of what they did for the pupils of the area.