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Opinion divided on where now for St Aidan’s High School

Derrylin Robbery gun at St. Aidan's school

 

PLANS outlined by education chiefs which would see St Aidan’s High School in Derrylin amalgamate with post-primary schools in Lisnaskea and Roslea has been branded as ‘destructive’ by one of the area’s longest-serving councillors.

The three post-primary schools which look set to amalgamate are St Eugene’s College, Roslea, St Comhghall’s College, Lisnaskea and St Aidan’s if recommendations drawn up by the Trustees of the Clogher and Kilmore Diocese are rubber-stamped by the Department of Education.

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Under the current proposals the schools would operate under one new 11-19 co-educational college. The new post-primary school would be over-seen by one Board of Governors on two different campuses – the anchor campus would be based in Lisnaskea while the Derrylin campus would cater for key stage three and possibly GCSE students.

However, the proposal for the Derrylin campus was rejected by a number of people who say there are fears it would spell the eventual closure of St Aidan’s.

Local councillor Bernice Swift described it as “destructive” and refused to accept the recommendations.

She added: “I totally reject the suggested proposal by CCMS and I only support the Federated Model whereby we must ensure there will be 11-16 up to Key Stage 4 education on a permanent basis at St Aidan’s, Derrylin. Anything less than this model should be vigorously opposed by all.

“It’s crystal clear to me that the Minister’s policy must be refuted and overturned to suit our unique circumstances for education in rural Fermanagh.

“I will accept nothing else or it will be a slippery slope – I would see this proposal as destructive.”

However, the proposals were welcomed by St Aidan’s Community Action Group who claimed it provided confirmation there will continue to be a “permanent post-primary provision in Derrylin”.

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Brian McTaggart, vice chairman said: “The challenge now is to secure full and permanent 11-16 educational provision up to and including Key Stage 4 at St Aidan’s and put in place a delivery model that enables equality in decision making and management.”

Parent and group member Maria Nugent-Murphy said: “The Action Group in partnership with the staff, parents, Board of Governors and the community will be working diligently to shape the delivery model to ensure permanent 11-16 education at St Aidan’s.”

Pat Rooney, vice chairman of St Aidan’s Board of Governors said: “The Board of Governors is fully supportive of the full provision of 11-16 education on the St Aidan’s site. We will leave no stone unturned to achieve that outcome.”

Some of the recommendations put forward by the Trustees of the Clogher and Kilmore Dioceses include:

– The three existing schools will amalgamate to create one new 11-19, co-educational college.

– The college will operate as one school, under one Board of Governors and one leadership team, but on two campuses.

– 11-19 provision will be available in Lisnaskea and a Key Stage 3 campus in Derrylin with the potential for some Key Stage 4 provision in Derrylin

Following the consultation process, CCMC will review the responses and make their decision whether to take the proposals forward. This would then be passed to the WELB for consideration.

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