THE North-West Action Group will get a chance to state their case over the retention of post-primary education at St Mary’s High School, Brollagh when they meet with Minister John O’Dowd today.
The group want Mr O’Dowd to remove the threat of closure on the school imposed by CCMS and are now waiting on him to set a date for a meeting.
Vice-chair of the North West Education Action Group Francis Maguire explained further.
“The minister has acknowledged our request for a meeting with him and now we are just waiting on him to give us a date.
“We are pressing for that date to be as soon as possible due to the critical stage we are at.
“There is a still a lot of uncertainty in the local community, but the bottom line is that the school is still open for business.”
On Monday representatives from the group along with a cross-party political delegation from Fermanagh met with the Education Committee at Stormont to further press the case.
The committee will meet with Mr O’Dowd today (Wednesday) and the action group hope this will facilitate them with their ultimate goal.
“The purpose of the meeting was basically to get the door open to meeting the Minister. At an INTO )Irish National Teachers’ Organisation) conference in Kilkenny he said cross-border education needs to be seriously considered in rural schools.
“We welcome these words, but we’re firm believers actions speak louder than words.
“That’s why we are really eager to meet the Minister.”
Despite the backing of 6,000 signatures supporting the retention of St Mary’s Brollagh from the consultation process there remains uncertainty amongst parents and pupils in the area.
“We have a lot of parents in this community waiting for a positive decision and have said they will support the school, but with the uncertainty they have had to put another school down as their first choice and Brollagh as their second.
“They have informed us though they will support us if we get the good news we hope for.”
He continued: “We’re getting into a very critical stage, we’re into the last term and parents and pupils have no idea where their kids are going. There is a lot of frustration, but at least there’s a little progress.”
The North West Action Group remain in favour of cross-border post-primary education based at the Brollagh site and view this option as ‘the future’.
For now though they hope that their meeting with the Minister will convince him of the merits of keeping St Mary’s open and he will remove the threat of closure from the equation.
“We’re thinking positive, we’re still taking pupils in September and it is still only a threat of closure, the decision has not yet been made.”
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