THE support of the local community can keep St Mary’s Primary School in Fivemiletown going, campaigners maintain.
Plans for the school’s closure came to light after it was revealed by the Education Authority (EA) that it had received a request from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) to “discontinue” the school with effect from August 31, 2023.
Last week the EA’s chief executive, Sara Long, signed a proposal recommending the school’s closure.
In a statement, parents, governors and staff at St Mary’s said that they were “deeply disappointed in the failure of CCMS to withdraw their misguided proposal to close their school”.
However, they are confident that with support from right across the community, including politicians from the DUP, Sinn Fein, the SDLP and others, the school will continue to remain open.
“It is clear to me that CCMS’ proposal is based on flawed assumptions and ignores the facts that don’t suit its agenda, such as our budget surplus, rising enrolment, and plans for growth,” parent and governor, Mairaid Kelly, said.
“Like the majority of rural schools, particularly in Fermanagh and Tyrone, we are indeed small, but we have consistently shown our ability to operate within our budget and achieve the best educational outcomes for our children.
“We have an opportunity right now to register our objections to this proposal with the Department of Education, and we need as many people to join us in doing the same.
“Please visit our Facebook page for more information on our campaign.”
School principal, Brian McCloskey, said pupils were “happy, healthy and thriving” in the school.
The CCMS insisted that the closure of St Mary’s will go ahead though and that the school will “discontinue with effect from August 31, 2023, or as soon as possible thereafter”.
The general public are invited to lodge any objections to, or support for, this proposal with the Department of Education’s Area Planning Policy Team within two months of the date of publication of the notice (Thursday, February 9).
The Facebook page for St Mary’s Primary School is: https://www.facebook.com/people/St-Marys-Primary-School-Fivemiletown/100057111924975/
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