A scathing report from the Southern Education and Library Board has described school standards in the Craigavon area as “the lowest of the six district councils within the SELB” (see page 7).
The report has prompted the principals of Lurgan College, Trevor Robinson, and Portadown College, Simon Harper, to issue a staunch defence of the Dickson Plan and their schools.
“We are utterly disgusted at this clear evidence of the direct ministerial interference of John O’Dowd in the SELB’s Area Based Planning Process. The Minister’s reported fury ‘when his controversial Option A was rejected by the Board’ and this recent outburst reveal his relentless political determination to impose his misguided ideology upon our community.
“He must now heed the recent ruling of Mr Justice Treacy who labelled DE’s area based planning as ‘inflexible’ and criticised the process for failing to take into account the wishes of parents and the community.
“We are also shocked that the SELB is embarking upon yet another consultation process, given that they have publicly stated that the controlled sector is outperforming the NI average and that the Dickson Plan has many benefits.
“We formally call upon the SELB to abandon this ministerially contaminated process forthwith. To continue with this fatally flawed and unnecessary process would be a shameful waste of public funds by the SELB, given that schools are currently being starved of funding.”
The most logical solution, they said, was to enhance the Dickson Plan with the creation of a single site, four year Craigavon Senior High School.