More consultation before Dickson decision made

Lurgan College.
Lurgan College.

Further consultation is to take place on the development proposal to amalgamate Lurgan College and Craigavon Senior High.

A two-month public consultation is due to take place before any decision is taken by the Education Minister on whether to sign off on the proposal, which was approved by nine votes to five at an SELB meeting on June 26.

The board maintain that Option A, which would see Lurgan College and the Lurgan campus of Craigavon Senior High merged, is the best way forward in terms of “modernising and developing” the Dickson Plan.

Option B would see no change to most controlled schools in Craigavon, although the senior high schools in Lurgan and Portadown would be merged onto one campus.

Campaigners say Option A is a radical departure from the two-tier system and does not have the support of the community.

The upcoming public consultation is understood to be preceded by a pre-consultation which will involve primary schools, many of whom were furious to have been left out of the initial consultation on the future of education in the Craigavon area.

The SELB said: “The board, at its meeting on June 26, agreed that it would proceed in the autumn to publish a formal development proposal which would be subject to a further statutory two month public consultation period.

“During this period, all interested and affected parties would have an opportunity to submit their comments and views on the proposal to the Minister of Education.

“Thereafter, a decision would be taken by the minister.”