Anderson calls for calm in schools row

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Upper Bann MLA Sydney Anderson says he fully supports his colleague, Stephen Moutray, in his attempt to get the seven post-primary Dickson Plan schools in the area around the table to discuss the difficulties that have recently arisen - relating to transfer at the age of fourteen.

Mr Anderson said:

“Some people made a great play in the previous educational debate about the majority of schools being in favour of proposals which were overwhelmingly rejected by the public.

“Using the same logic now that the majority of schools, with the exception of Killicomaine, Clounagh and Tandragee Junior High Schools all being in favour of meeting, I see no reason why this cannot be possible.”

Mr Anderson continued: “I have been contacted by senior educationalists, former governors, past pupils and parents whose children are currently being educated in the Dickson Plan, who cannot understand why these issues have arisen now when the Dickson Plan has been in operation for a lifetime. It is vital that all schools approach this issue in a calm manner so that our young people and their families do not suffer as a consequence of bickering.

“Hopefully a resolution can be found without tampering of the current transfer system taking place, which I, my colleagues and the community at large would be opposed to.”

A meeting had been proposed by both Lurgan College and Portadown College but this was rejected, with some schools in the Portadown area furious over remarks made at Portadown College’s prizegiving last year. DUP MLA Stephen Moutray has called for cool heads, and offered to host a meeting of schools.