Support for collegiate plans

THE idea of a collegiate in Lurgan has been welcomed by both Lurgan Junior High and Craigavon Senior High.

At Lurgan Junior High School the Board of Governors have stated they accept the collegiate proposal for Lurgan for four key reasons.

They are backing the Area Plan based on: the retention of a modernised two tier system; promotion of automatic transfer at 11 not dependant on the outcome of a selection test; strong support for retention of academic excellence; and equality of access to appropriate education for all young people.

Principal Joe Johnston explained that the school has written to parents as well as feeder primary schools to outline why they are supporting the proposals.

David Mehaffey, principal of Craigavon Senior High School, said, “Our Board of Governors has given its full support to the concept of the Lurgan Collegiate as it is outlined in the Area Plan. They are fully aware that the proposal does not solve the school’s immediate financial or accommodation problems but they have chosen to take a longer term view.

“They recognise that some change to the Craigavon two-tier system is both inevitable and in the best interests of the young people who attend Craigavon Senior High School.

“They are more aware than most that the school has struggled to contend with the financial pressures exerted by managing the split-site, coping with fluctuating pupil numbers and expanding the curriculum to meet the demands of the Entitlement Framework. They are also very conscious of the day to day difficulties presented by the lack of suitable accommodation and facilities, most particularly in Lurgan.”

He added: “However, the Governors accept that there are many conflicting interests when it comes to determining the way forward for education in Lurgan and that all efforts to date have failed to reach an agreed solution to the problems. It is in a spirit of moving beyond this impasse that they are supporting this proposal even though they are aware that there can be no pre-conditions attached when it comes to determining an eventual outcome.

“They recognise that it will be the role of the Board of Governors of the Collegiate to identify a structure for post primary education in the controlled sector in Lurgan that will be sustainable in the long term and that will address the inequalities that exist within the present system.

“They feel strongly that any such future decisions should be made by Lurgan people representative of the various shades of opinion in Lurgan rather than have change imposed at government level.”