Is plan 'strategic' at all?

Published: 13 Jul 2012 13:000 comments

CONTRADICTORY recommendations put forward in WELB's Post Primary Strategic Area Plan have created confusion in the education sector in Fermanagh.

An opportunity to explore cross Border options for schools such as St. Aidan's, Derrylin has been missed in WELB's Area plan which was released this week.

Director of Fermanagh Trust, Lauri McCusker, says a question mark hangs over whether the document, released last Thursday, is "strategic" at all.

According to WELB, the aim of its Area Plan is to make "robust recommendations across sectors taking account of the individual sectoral interests".

But the Post Primary Plan does not contain a single concrete proposal involving a partnership between schools from different sectors or across the border.

In order to commence the Area Planning Process WELB sought representatives from the various education authorities to set up a Working Group.

Their objective was to ensure a network of viable and sustainable schools, within reasonable travelling distance for pupils, capable of effectively delivering the revised curriculum. But they encountered a number of constraints in their their task, including the current school estate, sectoral interests, parental preference and current transport costs or policies to name but a few. Acknowledging that compiling last week's document would have been no easy task, Mr McCusker welcomed the fact that one of the four recommendations put forward for Fermanagh included WELB and CCMS exploring the establishment of a "cross-sectoral federated model to deliver a multi-campus solution for the area by October 2012".

But, he expressed disappointment that this contradicted another recommendation to seek the Department of Education's approval to the Economic Appraisal for Controlled/Voluntary Post Primary Education in Fermanagh.

This appraisal, submitted to the Department of Education in January 2010, recommended the provision of a new replacement school on the site of Portora Royal School for an amalgamation with Collegiate Grammar School.

It also recommends the provision of a new school on the Tempo Road for Devenish College and Lisnaskea High School and the provision for a new replacement Special School, co-located with Devenish College on the Tempo Road, for an amalgamated Erne and Elmbrook Special School.

WELB's Area Plan also proposes the Recommendations laid out by the CCMS' Clogher and Kilmore Diocesan Programme Board should be progressed.

This includes a recommendation to consult on the closure of St Mary's High School, Brollagh, the amalgamation of St Aidan's High School, Derrylin, St Comhghall's College, Lisnaskea and St Eugene's College, Roslea and the establishment of two large single-sex schools in Enniskillen.

"There's a little bit of confusion in terms of the proposals," said Mr McCusker, "One doesn't sit with the other. These guys knew that this was contradictory when they were putting the document together. So it's not really clear what the strategic plan is at this stage -- is it one or the other?"

Fermanagh Trust has been working closely with schools in both the primary and post primary sectors to assist in developing the potential for shared models of education for the future.

One of the most creative to date, is a proposal from St Mary's High School, Brollagh which has expressed a willingness to explore sharing on a cross-border basis. But there was no mention of this in the Strategic Area Plan last week.

"It looks as though St Mary's proposal for cross-border collaboration is not being recommended to go forward," said Mr McCusker, "The proposal in the Area Plan is to continue with the consultation to close the school. While it's not unexpected it will still be a source of frustration for the school, but they are committed to working ahead on their proposal."

Moving forward, WELB is now undertaking a public consultation in partnership with the Department of Education on the Post Primary Area Plan.

This consultation will run from now until October 26, 2012. Online response facilities will be available from September 2012.

Mr McCusker said he was hopeful the Primary School Area Plan, due to be published this September, would be more fruitful.

"There is a question mark over it being strategic and whether it's a consultation at all. I have been told that in other Board areas there was much more clarity in their Area Plans."

Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA, Phil Flanagan, a member of the Education Committee in Stormont, said the amount of detail in last week's document was "scant".

"There also must be questions asked about how closely WELB and CCMS worked together in drawing up the plan for Co Fermanagh and complied with the Terms of Reference that were outlined by the Department of Education," he said, "There is not one single concrete proposal, which involves a partnership between schools from different sectors and absolutely no consideration is given to the potential for collaboration with schools across the border, which could suit the needs of the community served by some schools, particularly St Mary's High School, Brollagh and St Aidan's High School, Derrylin.

"I would stress that this is only the beginning of the process, and no decisions of any kind have been made at this stage about the future of any school.

"The purpose of this process is to get the views of the local community and to hear what alternative suggestions are out there.

"In that vein, I would encourage local residents, pupils, parents, schools, stakeholders and community groups to actively involve themselves in this consultation process and reflect the views of the wider community in their response."

Jump to first paragraph.

Comments

comments powered by Disqus

Get more stories from our Roundup section

16 Apr 2014 22:30 • Editorial Department

In tomorrow's Impartial Reporter read:

How a woman has been convicted of sexually assaulting a man after touching him and trying to give him a love bite.

Social: Comments0 comments

16 Apr 2014 19:30

Arrest warrant for convicted shoplifter

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 33-year-old convicted shoplifter.

Social:

16 Apr 2014 17:00

Driver convicted of possession of drug after cannabis was found in car

The 32-year-old driver of a car from which there was a strong smell of cannabis has admitted unlawfully having the Class B drug.

Social:

16 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Comment - Shona Morrison - Feeling blue over the lack of support for autism awareness

Our wee county of Fermanagh has a great deal going for it right now.

Social: Comments0 comments

16 Apr 2014 12:20

Police probe confrontation between cyclists and motorist

A man was reportedly assaulted during a confrontation between a motorist and a group of cyclists on the Sligo Road in Enniskillen.

Social:

16 Apr 2014 09:00

Local politicians meet Creamery officials to discuss closure

Ulster Unionist Assembly member for Fermanagh & South Tyrone, Tom Elliott MLA, and local Councillors, Robert Mulligan and Neil Somerville have met with the management of Fivemiletown Creamery to highlight their concerns over the closure of the creamery.

Social:

15 Apr 2014 22:00

Man took wife's car without permission

A 35-year-old man has been fined £425 and banned from driving for three months after he took his wife’s car without her permission.

Social:

15 Apr 2014 19:00

Police asking for your help with road safety through social media

Police in Fermanagh and other parts of F District are asking everyone who uses the roads to promote safety messages through social media over the next three Bank Holiday Mondays.

Social:

15 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Opinion - Kylie Noble - Can’t stand the rain? Thank heavens for our water supply

In Fermanagh I don’t think there is anything that causes so much anger and frustration than the weather; specifically the abundance of rain.

Social: Comments0 comments

15 Apr 2014 13:00

Hospital detention order against mentally ill man on attempted murder charge

A mentally ill man who bludgeoned his elderly uncle over the head with a hammer until he thought he was dead has been committed to hospital indefinitely.

Social:

15 Apr 2014 11:30

Don't forget to recycle your Easter egg packaging

Enjoying your chocolate egg but don't know what to do with the packaging?

Social:

15 Apr 2014 09:00

Homes evacuated in security alert in Fintona

POLICE are dealing with a security alert in Fintona, County Tyrone, after an incident in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday).

Social:

14 Apr 2014 22:00

Businessman failed to demolish apartments

A 44-year-old businessman has been fined £500 for failing to knock down a block of apartments that pose a danger to drivers.

Social:

14 Apr 2014 19:00

Council reminder to householders about risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Fermanagh District Council is encouraging householders to have their heating appliances, which have been well used over the winter, serviced and chimneys cleaned to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.

Social:

14 Apr 2014 16:00

Sentence deferred for six months against disorderly man

A 28-year-old man involved in a fight outside a pub claimed remarks had been made about his former partner.

Social:

14 Apr 2014 13:00 • Meadhbh Monahan

Tourism businesses work harder to get visitors off the beaten track

Fermanagh tourism providers have to “work harder” because the county is “not the first choice destination.”

Social: Comments0 comments

14 Apr 2014 11:00 • Brian Donaldson

Sam uncovers broken hearted grandmother’s letter after son’s Great War death

The mother of a soldier serving in the First World War, had to resort to writing for financial help after her son died as result of the appalling conditions right at the end of the War in November 1918.

Social: Comments0 comments

14 Apr 2014 09:30 • Lily Dane

The positive attitude of the bride who developed same cancer as her brother

An inspirational young Fermanagh woman, Rachel Wilson (formerly Byers) was only married a matter of months when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Social: Comments0 comments

14 Apr 2014 08:21

Single mother stole from employer of over 11 years

A 28-year-old single mother who betrayed the trust of her employer of over 11 years by stealing from his shop has been given 200 hours of community service.

Social:

13 Apr 2014 16:00 • Editorial Department

Local players share the Bridge Congress spoils

When the competition hotted up at the 37th Annual Fermanagh Bridge Congress over the weekend, bridge playing talents from the county demonstrated they ‘can hold their own.’

Social: Comments0 comments