The public response to the SELB’s proposals on the Dickson Plan was a resounding ‘No’ to Option A.
Whether or not this prompted the board to take Option A off the table at the board meeting last Wednesday remains to be seen, but it’s sure to have played its part.
13,546 questionnaires were sent out and of those 4,821 were returned (a rreturn of 36 per cent).
The majority (86.04%) of the completed surveys came from parents.
Of those respondents 99.02% believed that the board should provide the best possible educational opportunities for all young people in the Craigavon area.
Three quarters disagreed that the Dickson Plan needed to be updated to take into account changing circumstances.
Even more (81.87%) disagreed with the proposal to create a new enlarged Lurgan College which would include the Lurgan Campus of Craigavon Senior High School and retain grammar school status.
Nearly 90% were happy to see Lurgan Junior High school remain unchanged.
Respondents were given the chance to suggest any viable alternative proposals. A quarter of those who took this opportunity suggested the retention of the existing schools with new builds for Lurgan College and Portadown College and a new build for both campuses of Craigavon SHS while 9% wanted to retain the status quo.
Minority suggestions included capping the percentage of pupils transferring to the two colleges (eg up to 40%) to raise Craigavon SHS numbers and funding.
Another suggestion involved co-locating Craigavon SHS and the colleges as separate schools sharing facilities.
There were also a very small number of respondents who suggested replacing the two-tier system with 11-16/18 schools as in the rest of Northern Ireland or merging Lurgan JHS, Craigavon SHS Lurgan and Lurgan College as a junior high school and a 14-19 bilateral school on the Lurgan JHS site.