Markethill High School is currently sitting at just over two and a half times the size of its original capacity of 200 pupils – and has suffered from years of underfunding.
The school was built more than 60 years ago but in the intervening years, mobile classrooms have been erected to accommodate the growing number of pupils attending the school.
However, questions have been raised to why the School has not seen any significant capital investment to help it cope with the demand.
Newry and Armagh TUV spokesperson Keith Ratcliffe is the latest representative to address this matter.
“In many ways, Markethill High School highlights the neglect of the controlled sector going back generations,” he said.
“Markethill High was built in 1959 with the intention of accommodating 200 pupils. There are currently 503 pupils on the roll books and no less than eight mobiles are being employed to house the children. Some of the mobiles are extremely old and quite frankly the school needs a re-build.
“In spite of these challenges, the school continues to excel with above average results, a dedicated staff and pupils who clearly are inspired to achieve their true potential.
“Sadly, however, schools like Markethill have been the poor relation when it comes to funding for far too long. One has only to contrast the state of this school with that of St Joseph’s in Crossmaglen which was awarded £19.6 million in recent years.
“TUV has written to the Permanent Secretary of Education asking why a replacement for Markethill High has not appeared in the Department’s capital programme.
“There is a distinct sense in the area that the Protestant minority, who mostly attend the school, are being subjected to unequal treatment.
“TUV has requested a full list of capital expenditure over the last 10 years on schools in the south Armagh area and a list of those schools which are within a capital programme awaiting upgrade.”