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Board considers responses to school shake-up

Published: 27 Oct 2012 09:30

Yesterday a consultation ended on proposals that could result in the biggest shake-up to our schools in decades.

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The Western Education and Library Board's Putting Pupils First: Shaping Our Future consultation closed on Friday, October 26. And now the Board must consider responses to its radical proposals the suggest significant amalgamations in the post-primary school sector in Fermanagh.

The consultation kick-started wide-reaching changes in our schools. "This is the start of a process to move to a network of schools whose enrolments are sufficient both to make the school viable in the longer term and to allow it to deliver the statutory curriculum at Key Stage 3 and the Entitlement Framework at Key Stage 4 and Post-16," it noted.

Key changes it suggested are:

*The approval by the Department of Education of the WELB Economic Appraisal and Strategic Plan which suggests the provision of a new replacement school on the Portora site for an amalgamated Portora and Collegiate.

*The provision of a new school on the Tempo Road in Enniskillen to replace Devenish College and Lisnaskea High School.

*The provision of a special school co-located on the Tempo Road site for Willowbridge School.

Key proposals for post-primary schools in the Clogher and Kilmore diocese include:

*In Enniskillen town, the initial development of two large single sex schools

*In Derrylin/Lisnaskea and Rosslea -- the establishment of a new school with possible provision on more than one site through the amalgamation of St. Aidan's High School, St. Comhghall's College and St. Eugene's College.

*In Dromore/Irvinestown, that CCMS would undertake a feasibility study to determine whether the proposal to develop a rural academy would meet policy requirements.

*In Brollagh -- CCMS to consult on the closure of St. Mary's High School. CCMS also to explore cross-border potential.

The document states that all 14 post-primary schools in the Fermanagh District Council area were subject to a viability audit which showed that six schools had less than 200 pupils. Two have 200-300 pupils, three have 300-400 pupils and two have 400-500.

Three schools have three less than 40 pupils in sixth form and three have 80-100 pupils.

Government policy states that post-primary schools must have at least 500 pupils.

Eight out of the 14 are in "financial stress" with three projected to have a deficit of 50 per cent or greater.

There are 1,066 surplus post-primary school places, the consultation document states.

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