Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

O’Dowd approves amalgamation of Monkstown Community School and Newtownabbey Community High School

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Education

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has approved the amalgamation of Monkstown Community School and Newtownabbey Community High School.

Commenting on the decision, Mr O’Dowd said: “The North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) published development proposals for the closure of Monkstown Community School and Newtownabbey Community High School and the creation of a new school for the area.

“Both schools are currently carrying significant numbers of unfilled places. The amalgamation will result in a new, single, sustainable school to cater for the pupils currently attending both existing schools. On this basis, I am content to approve the amalgamation.

“My Department will liaise with NEELB to ensure that areas identified for improvement in the November 2012 inspection report and post-inspection action plan for Monkstown Community School that are relevant to the new school continue to be addressed. My Department will also request that the Education and Training Inspectorate undertakes a baseline inspection of the new school in its second year of operation to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of the amalgamation plans.”

The Minister added: “The location of the new amalgamated school is a matter for the NEELB. I understand the Board’s intention is to locate the school on the current Monkstown site.

“I have no doubt the schools’ staff and parents will work collectively to make this new school for the area a success and to ensure a smooth transition for all pupils involved.”

Notes to editors:

1. NEELB published Development Proposals 278, 279 and 280 proposing the discontinuance of Monkstown Community School and Newtownabbey Community High School with effect from 31 August 2014, or as soon as possible thereafter, and the establishment of a new 820 pupil controlled post-primary school (11-19) on the current Monkstown Community School site with effect from 1 September 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter.

2. The approval of the development proposals is subject to modification - the approval relates solely to the amalgamation and not to the proposed location on the Monkstown Community School site. The location of the new school is a matter for the NEELB.

3. 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

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

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