THE ENNISKILLEN INTEGRATED PRIMARY SCHOOL have put forward a development proposal to increase their student population, but this will not be at the cost of other primary schools, according to Principal Adele Kerr.
Speaking to the Herald, Mrs Kerr explained the rationale behind the move towards a larger occupation.
“We are the only integrated primary school in the whole county, and our increased enrolment should not be detrimental to any one school because we serve the whole community. We wouldn’t want it to be detrimental to one school or two schools.
“We serve children from Ballinamallard, Belnaleck, Derrygonnelly, Irvinestown, Maguiresbridge, Tempo and Lisnaskea as well as the main town. We have been turning children away every year.
“I suppose if you’re going on parental choice, you only have to look at the Belfast Telegraph poll.
We are trying to respond to parental choice.”
In this poll, it was revealed that 79% of respondents would support a request for children’s schools to be transformed into integrated schools, while 66% argued that Integrated education should be the main model.
The Enniskillen Integrated usually takes in 30 pupils in P1 each year and have a maximum admissions number of 244 in total.
“We had never filled the 244, yet we could have filled it. Our classes P5, P6 and P7 have 32, 31 and we have had 33 with some admissions after P4. It is clear though that the government don’t want these schools any bigger.
“Because we have got this position where we are turning away children, we applied for temporary variation in P1 admissions last year as long as you’re not going over the approved admissions’ number.
“We took in 45 last September and, as far as I’m aware, we didn’t affect anybody.
“This year we have had it approved again, and now our numbers are at 244 in the school, so I can’t take in one child throughout the whole school.
“The only option was to put in a development proposal to have our admissions’ numbers increased because we have the temporary proposal in place.
“That’s the crux of our development proposal. We feel we are just ensuring the demand is met as we are the only one (Integrated School) in County Fermanagh.”
Mrs Kerr hopes that the proposals will go through in order to meet parental choice.
“ We’re not doing this to close anybody. It is parental choice, and it is spread over the whole county.”
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