Closing Lurgan campus of Craigavon SHS would have ‘detrimental impact’

Closing Craigavon Senior High School’s Lurgan campus would have a ‘serious detrimental impact’ on the future of education in the Co Armagh town, says the UUP.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 12:34 pm

Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie explained that as consultation on the controversial decision ends on February 1, account has not been taken around the wider issues on controlled education in the Lurgan and surrounding areas.

Mr Beattie said: “To close the Craigavon Senior High School, Lurgan campus, and bus the children to Portadown will have a serious detrimental impact on the educational pathway in Lurgan for those not selected to go to Grammar school.

“Already, Dromore High School have a development proposal to increase their numbers of year 8 pupils as does Banbridge Academy. Both schools likely to take potential pupils from Magheralin, Waringstown and Donaghcloney who would normally go to Lurgan Junior High School. This will be exacerbated by the very fact that without non selective education in Lurgan from the age 14 to 16 families will look to find a clearer educational pathway for their children outside of Lurgan.

“This may well be a simplistic analysis but it is a fair assumption and therefore bussing children from Lurgan campus to the Portadown campus of Craigavon Senior High school could endanger the viability of the Junior High. In the long term this will have an effect on Lurgan college and will eventually see them become and 11-18 school dropping out of the Dickson plan.

“The solution to this very real issue has been suggested previously and it is a solution that, for the long term success of the Dickson Plan, everyone should support.

“Lurgan Junior High School has the capacity to accept Craigavon Senior High School - Lurgan Campus – pupils.

“It would then make the school an 11-16 school but academic selection would still take place at 14 and those selected for Grammar school would leave to Junior High and go to Lurgan College. Those not selected would remain in the Junior High and continue their education.

“This process would protect the controlled sector and the Grammar sector in Lurgan by creating a clear pathway for pupils making Lurgan more attractive than sending children to Banbridge or to Dromore. In turn it will create better educational outcomes for our children and will keep us in line with the Executive’s Programme for Government that clearly outlines ‘our children and young people have the best start in life’ and the Armagh Banbridge Community Plan that aims to ‘keep communities connected’.”

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