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‘Compelling case’ made for retention of Craigavon Senior High’s Lurgan campus

A “compelling case” has been made for the retention of Craigavon Senior High School’s Lurgan campus in a report compiled by two academics, a local councillor has claimed.

Following a meeting of Council’s governance, resource and strategy working group, Lurgan councillor Louise McKinstry said that although the views of local people had not been taken into consideration by the Education Authority (EA), it was clear they had been in this report.

Councillor McKinstry also said the report notes that the option of of an 11-16 Lurgan Junior High School satisfies the criteria for a sustainable school.

“I was delighted to propose the approval of a report written by Dr Noel Purdy and Dr Jonathan Harris from the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College, Belfast,” said Councillor McKinstry.

“The proposal was quickly seconded by my party colleague, Councillor Kyle Savage who is a parent of children who will be affected by this important issue.

“The report will now be forwarded to the Minister for Education, Michelle McIlveen MLA, for her consideration as she makes her decision about whether to accept the recommendation of the EA, it proves a compelling case against the EA recommendation.

“Thank you to all the community, sporting and church groups who met with our expert panel and contributed to the paper. Thank-you also to everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation document, the numbers reacting negatively to the option to bus students to Portadown was overwhelming.”

Councillor McKinstry added that she, along with Ulster Unionist Party leader, Doug Beattie MC MLA, are continuously pressing to keep this issue to the fore.

“We have been consistent in our messaging that the only viable option is an 11-16 school on the Toberhewney Road site of Lurgan Junior High School,” said Councillor McKinstry.

“The failing of successive education ministers to adequately provide for our students in Lurgan and the outlying villages is shameful.

“As we see new build schools in different phases of development across our borough, our controlled sector students have been really let down.

“Dickson Plan schools need urgent investment to bring them up to standard.

“The deadline for submission of responses to the Education Minister is June 22. The Education Minister’s email address is michelle.mcilveen@mla.niassembly.gov.uk or you can get in touch with me and I will forward your response to her.”

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