A proposal to bring Lurgan College and Craigavon Senior High School onto a single site is now off the table, after a meeting of the Southern Education and Library Board earlier today (Wednesday).
The board has withdrawn its controversial Option ‘A’ changes to the Dickson Plan for Education after an 80-plus per cent vote against it.
However, Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the board heard that - for “sound educational reasons” - the no-change Option ‘B’ wasn’t on the agenda.
DUP MLA Stephen Moutray welcomed the SELB’s ‘common sense approach to the future of the much loved Dickson Plan form of Education within the Craigavon and Tandragee area’.
He said: “At a meeting this afternoon of the SELB Board a decision was taken not to pursue Option A but to commence meaningful discussions and dialogue with all stakeholders to establish an agreed way forward for the Controlled Sector.
“I believe they have listened and acted in accordance with the will of the overwhelming majority of individuals who responded to the most recent consultation.
“This has been a long hard battle and I am pleased that the many educationalists, parents, pupils, and those from the community at large who worked alongside our ‘Save the Dickson’ campaign have today been listened to by the SELB.
“Whilst we acknowledge there may be flaws relating to accommodation within the current Dickson Plan system it is our intention to resolve this issue without compromising a system that has delivered. We as a political party will not be found wanting in working with everyone to find an outcome that will deliver for all of our children.”
UUP MLA Jo-Anne Dobson said Option A was dead, adding: “Finally the SELB has been forced to listen to the loud voices of the parents, pupils and teachers of Craigavon and has today seen sense!
“They have now announced a move to involve everyone in discussions about the best way forward.
“I have consistently called for Option A to be removed from the table before any meaningful discussions can begin and I put this point directly to the SELB at a recent meeting.
“The previous decision of the SELB sent ripples of anger throughout the community. Finally the Board have started to do the right thing.”