Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

O’Dowd announces decision on the future of Belmont House and Foyle View Schools

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Education

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has approved development proposals to amalgamate Belmont House and Foyle View Schools.

Commenting on his decision, the Minister said: “I have considered very carefully all aspects of these proposals and have decided to approve the amalgamation of the two schools. The amalgamation will be supported by an investment in excess of £7.5million.

“In making my decision I was mindful that there has been a significant level of opposition to the closure of Belmont House. However, I must consider the long-term interests of the children. Having examined the proposal I am satisfied that the amalgamation will provide a more sustainable school and meet the needs of the children more effectively. I have received assurances that the service will not be diluted in any way, class sizes will not increase and pupils will only be placed in appropriate class groupings according to their needs on the spectrum.

“I wish all those associated with the new school every success for the future.”

Notes to editors:

1. On 7 May 2013, the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) published Development Proposals (DP) No. 244, 245 and 246.

2. DP 244 proposed the establishment of a new controlled special school in Derry with effect from 1 September 2014, or as soon as possible thereafter, to facilitate the merger of Belmont House and Foyle View Schools.

3. DP 245 proposed to discontinue Belmont House School and DP 246 proposed to discontinue Foyle View School, both with effect from 31 August 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter

4. Belmont House School was established in 1961 and caters for pupils with moderate learning difficulties (MLD). Foyle View School first opened in 1961 and caters for pupils with both severe learning difficulties (SLD) and profound multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

5. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/education-works for more information.

Watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/thedeptofeducation

6. See photos from the Department of Education in our collection at http://www.flickr.com/niexecutive

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