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Area plan could see just six post primary schools in county
The Western Education and Library Board have released an ‘Area Plan’ with recommendations for the future provision of post primary education in Fermanagh. The plan could see the number of post primary schools culled from 15 to six with the possibility that no school will remain in its current form or even with its current name.
The ‘plan looks at both the controlled and non denominational voluntary schools within the county and also the maintained schools and catholic voluntary grammar schools. The plan will be out for consultation until October of this year.
In the controlled sector it seems that the board is to press on with recommendations from two years ago. The WELB state that ‘the future of Collegiate GS, Elmbrook School, Erne School, Lisnaskea HS and Portora Royal School has been identified in the WELB’s Economic Appraisal; and Strategic Plan.’
This appraisal was submitted to the Department in 2010 – but received no approval – and included the following recommendations;
• The amalgamation of Portora and Collegiate at a new ‘replacement school on the Portora site’.
• A new school built on an already acquired site on the Tempo Road that would replace Devenish College and Lisnaskea High School
• A ‘new replacement’ school built for an amalgamated Erne and Elmbrook school.
With regards to Lisnaskea High School the WELB explained that it was aware of the Shared Education Proposals for the South East Fermanagh area. This proposal would see a cross sectoral approach for the area and could see a multi campus approach to securing education in the future. This would see pupils who may have traditionally gone to Lisnaskea High attend a multi campus school with pupils who may have traditionally gone to St Comhghall’s Lisnaskea, St Eugene’s Roslea and St Aidan’s Derrylin.
Meanwhile the maintained and catholic voluntary grammar schools could also see a major shake up with the possibility that only three schools will service the demographic currently served by seven schools. There are four recommendations in the report;
• Enniskillen Town area
The Trustees recommend the initial development of two large single-sex schools in Enniskillen. The two schools will work closely together in formal collaboration to maximise the curriculum opportunities for all pupils with the feasibility of gradually moving away in the longer term to co-educational provision.
The trustees propose the establishment of one new school, with possible provision on more than one site, through the amalgamation of the existing three schools of St Aidan’s High School, St Comhghall’s College and St Eugene’s College.
CCMS and WELB, as the statutory authorities for the schools involved, will also work together to explore the feasibility of the proposal for the establishment of a cross-sectoral federated model to deliver a multi-campus solution in this area as an alternative model for provision for the area and report by October 2012. The shared management arrangement would be that which is permissible within existing educational governance arrangements and legislation.
The work on both models will be completed by October 2012 and will be followed by a consultation process with the affected schools.
The CCMS will undertake a feasibility study to determine whether the proposal to develop a Rural Academy to provide for pupils residing in the Irvinestown/Dromore areas would meet the requirements of the DE and NICCE Policies. This will be consulted on by December 2012.
CCMS propose to consult on the closure of St Mary’s High School Brollagh. The initial consultation will be carried out before the end of November 2012. As part of the development work and in advance of consultation on closure, CCMS will explore the potential for cross-border arrangements to meet the needs of the pupils residing in the area currently served by the school.