A PARENT of St Mary’s High School Brollagh, which is under threat of closure next August, has claimed that “if this school closes young people will have to travel further to and from school than anywhere else in Ireland.”
Parents Council chairman Seamus Kelm added that the length of time it would take for children going to and coming back from school would then be double the recommended time from the Education Authority.
He said the maximum travelling time recommended for going to and returning from school is 90 minutes.
But it would be “three hours” if pupils had to attend schools in Enniskillen.
“Nobody should be able to impose these horrendous journeys on young people,” he said.
The round trip from the Belleek area to Enniskillen is 50 miles return.
He added that a closure would condemn future school goers to a 9.5 hour school day.
“The average working day for an adult is eight hours.
He said: “The Education Authority in its “Entitlement Framework” document recommend that daily travel time to post primary school should be no more than 45 minutes to school in the morning and 45 minutes home in the evening.
“The first pick-up is at 07:15am in Garrison followed by a pickup in Belleek at 07:40am,pupils are dropped off at 8:23am at Mount Lourdes, 8:25am at St Michael’s and 8:30am at Erne College for schools which commence at 9:00 am.
“The afternoon bus returns to Belleek at 4:40 pm with the last drop-off in Garrison at 5:00 pm.
“The times taken to travel these daily journeys have no possibility of being reduced in the future for a number of reasons.
“The roads where many pupils live and are picked up by the school bus are rural C & B Class roads that have very poor road surface are very narrow and take careful negotiation. “The Shore road, A46, a 24 mile stretch of road between Belleek and Enniskillen is a notoriously twisting and bendy road.
“Traffic congestion in Enniskillen in the mornings is so bad that if school buses arrive in the town later than 8:15 am they will not get pupils to school on time.
“Because of our geographically rural and peripheral location within Fermanagh and Northern Ireland, post-primary education has to be maintained within west Fermanagh,” he added.
Posted: 7:54 pm August 17, 2017