Dickson rally held

Some of the speakers at last night's rally at Craigavon Civic Centre in support of the Dickson Plan and the rejection of Option A. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Some of the speakers at last night's rally at Craigavon Civic Centre in support of the Dickson Plan and the rejection of Option A. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The organiser of Thursday night’s Save The Dickson Plan event in Craigavon Civic Centre said he was ‘heartened’ to see the community rally together.

The meeting was called by Upper Bann DUP MP David Simpson, who has stressed his opposition to the Option A proposal which would see bilateral schools replacing both Lurgan and Portadown College.

Speakers included the principals of both schools, Trevor Robinson and Simon Harper, as well as King’s Park principal Terry Shields, Waringstown campaigner Nicole Lappin, Avondale owner Greer Geddis, all of whom had spoken at last week’s Lurgan Town Hall rally.

In addition Mervyn Storey MLA, chair of the Assembly’s Education Committee, addressed the sizeable crowd consisting of school children, parents, teachers and supporters of the Dickson Plan.

The Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) stressed last week it is still willing to consider alternative proposals.

Speaking following the successful evening David Simpson MP said: “I was delighted to see the Civic Centre so well filled with people there supporting our Save the Dickson Plan Campaign and to demonstrate clearly their objection to the SELB’s Option A proposal. I and my colleagues have been endeavouring to assist parents, principals and boards of governors in their fight for the retention of the Dickson Plan as we know it, to retain our two grammar schools and to see the accommodation issues of the Senior High (Lurgan Campus) addressed without delay.

“Dickson has delivered higher than average results year on year, it has provided an excellent educational experience for thousands of young people and is undoubtedly the envy of many throughout the province.

“My message continues to be clear, it is imperative that the SELB and the Department of Education get a very clear and concise message that the overwhelming majority of people do not support their attempts to decimate the Dickson Plan and to that end Option A must be removed from the table.

“I am heartened to see the community rally together on this issue and would commend all those who have been involved in the fight to date. To that end we must continue to keep the focus and say to the SELB and the Minister ‘hands off the Dickson Plan’.”