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Minister announces closure of three primary schools

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has approved development proposals to allow for the closure of three primary schools in Co Down and Co Tyrone.

The primary schools are St Colman’s, Moira, Co Down; St Columba’s, Dromore, Co Tyrone and St Patrick’s Primary School, Garvallagh, Co Tyrone.

Commenting on the decision, Ms Ruane said: “These schools have suffered from declining enrolments in recent years, which has led to these proposals being brought forward. It is never an easy decision to close a school however, I am confident that their closure and the transfer of the pupils to other schools is in the best educational interests of the pupils."

All three schools have less than 20 enrolments in 2008/9. There are only two pupils at St Colman’s, 14 pupils at St. Patrick’s and 16 pupils at St Columba’s. There are sufficient places at neighbouring schools to accommodate all pupils.

In conclusion Mrs Ruane said: “I would like to pay tribute to all those connected with each of the schools in Moira, Curley and Garvallagh, respectively, who over many years showed their commitment and dedication to the schools and their pupils.”

Notes to Editors:

1. On 25 November 2008, the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) published Development Proposal No. 208, which proposed the closure of St Colman’s Primary School with effect from 31 March 2009, or as soon as possible thereafter.

2. On 20 November 2008, the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) published Development Proposal No. 207, which proposed the closure of St Columba’s Primary School, with effect from 31 August 2009, or as soon as possible thereafter.

3. On 20 November 2008, the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) published Development Proposal No. 206, which proposed the closure of St Patrick’s Primary School, with effect from 31 August 2009, or as soon as possible thereafter.

4. In September 2008, there were no intakes to Year 1 at St Columba’s Primary School and the 2008/09 enrolment is only 16 pupils.

5. The 2008/09 enrolment at St Patrick’s is 14 pupils.

6. In 2008/9, there are only two Primary Seven pupils enrolled at St Colman’s.

7. Media queries, contact the Department of Education Press Office on 028 9127 9701. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.