Collegiate principal casts doubt on September date for merger

Elizabeth Armstrong, Principal of Collegiate Grammer School

Elizabeth Armstrong, Principal of Collegiate Grammer School

THE PRINCIPAL of the Collegiate Grammar School in Enniskillen, has suggested that the approved merger with Portora Royal School may not be in place by September of this year due to impending court proceedings.

The education minister John O’Dowd had approved the merger, stating in November of last year, that ‘both schools will close and a new amalgamated school will open’.


The original proposal by the education minister had said that the amalgamation should come into ‘effect from 1 September 2015, or as soon as possible thereafter’.

However Collegiate principal Elizabeth Armstrong, said: “An application for leave to bring a judicial review of Mr O’Dowd’s decision was lodged in February on behalf of a parent: This opens up the possibility of overturning this highly controversial decision through due legal process.

“The leave hearing will be mid-May and I know many in the Collegiate and in the wider community who felt that their strongly held and clearly articulated views were ignored in the consultation, are fully supportive of this development and will follow this process with much interest.”

A department of education spokesman confirmed to the Herald that the department was ‘aware of the proposed leave hearing’, and, Ms Armstrong said that because of this, she had doubts that the merger would be in place by September.

“Given the imminence of the application for leave hearing of the judicial review which could overturn the whole process one would have to assume that there will be no changes for September 2015.

“In the absence of any guidance or clear statement from the Fermanagh Protestant Board of Education who would be the trustees of the new school we are proceeding on that basis and we remain committed to ensuring a stable and positive experience of the girls whom it is a privilege to serve,” she went on, “We will make every effort to ensure that the Collegiate spirit, ethos and experience will thrive and flourish in Fermanagh for many years to come.”

Portora principal Neil Morton was not able to be reached for comment this week.


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