Senior high needs as great as any school

David Mehaffeyn SRC chairman, and two of his former school principals Mr David Gillespie, Tandragee junior High School, and Mr David Mehaffey, Craigavon Senior High School.INLM1212-151con
David Mehaffeyn SRC chairman, and two of his former school principals Mr David Gillespie, Tandragee junior High School, and Mr David Mehaffey, Craigavon Senior High School.INLM1212-151con
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LETTER: From D. Mehaffey, principal.

The article in last week’s edition of the Lurgan Mail entitled ‘O’Dowd accused of favouritism after fresh College snub’ simply cannot be allowed to pass without reply.

In the course of that article Stephen Moutray MLA complained that the decision of the Education Minister to announce a new school building project for the maintained sector in Lurgan was biased, ignoring the needs of Lurgan and Portadown Colleges on whose behalf he had lobbied for the past decade.

Permit me to ask about the needs of the Lurgan campus of Craigavon Senior High School? Are they not as great as the needs of any other school? Are the children who attend the school not also worthy of consideration? I feel very strongly that our public representatives should be equally concerned about the needs of the controlled secondary school in the town.

Our local politicians have visited the school and are well aware of those needs. Sadly however, the accommodation shortcomings of Craigavon Senior High School in Lurgan appear to be a problem for those who understand only too well that any solution will have implications for the other parts of the two tier system.

I would like to make three points. Firstly, since our politicians are elected to represent the interests of the population as a whole I would hope that their future public statements on this theme would contain their educational vision for all the controlled school children in Lurgan and not just some of them.

Secondly, all seven Dickson Plan controlled schools play a vital part in the education of our young people and all deserve to have their contribution respected. It is demeaning and dispiriting to the staff of Craigavon Senior High School to learn that their efforts on behalf of their pupils have such little public value.

Finally, it is improbable that the decision to omit Lurgan College from the list of building projects was based on party politics. It was almost certainly omitted because no plan currently exists within the controlled sector for a sustainable post-primary provision in Lurgan that caters for all children. Until such a plan has either been agreed or imposed there is no likelihood of capital funds becoming available.