THE CONCERNS of the local community over the future of education at St Mary’s Primary School, Fivemiletown were relayed to CCMS officials in a meeting on Monday.
The school has been earmarked for closure by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) and a consultation process recently ended.
Staff and pupils at the school have vowed to “fight to the bitter end” and hope to maintain Catholic education provision in Fivemiletown.
Fermanagh and South Tyrone Sinn Fein MLA Bronwyn McGahan met with leading officials from CCMS regarding the promotion of first class education opportunities in rural communities, with St Mary’s high on the agenda.
She met with CCMS Chief Executive, Jim Clarke and senior education adviser, Malachy Crudden who has special responsibility for education standards and area planning.
Speaking after Monday’s meeting the MLA commented:
“Today’s meeting was important as a consultation process is currently in place regarding the future of St. Mary’s Primary School. I took the opportunity to raise the concerns of the local community in relation to the provision of quality education opportunities for children living in the Fivemiletown area whose parents wish to exercise their choice to have their children educated in the Catholic education sector.
“I wish to extend my ongoing support for parents and the school community as they over the course of the next few weeks and months try to ensure that a sustainable plan for Catholic education in the local area is fully developed, which takes into account many factors including the challenges of rural family life.”
St Mary’s Primary School, Fivemiletown is the only Catholic maintained school within a six mile radius and currently has 36 pupils. The CCMS proposals earmark the school for closure in August 2016. A consultation and response period was open and in place until November 28 with the MLA now adding her weight behind the campaign to save the school.
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