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Groomsport school to close as pupil numbers drop

By Kathryn Torney

Published 22/12/2006

The Education Minister has announced that Groomsport Primary School is to close at the end of August 2007.

The announcement from Maria Eagle follows her confirmation yesterday that Ballyduff Primary School in Newtownabbey would also close at the end of this academic year.

The Minister came under fire from the integrated schools movement yesterday when she refused to fund five projects for integrated schools.

In response to a series of proposals relating to integrated schools, she only gave Ministerial approval for a new grant maintained primary school in the Moira area and the transformation to integrated status of Tyrella Primary School.

Commenting on her latest decision on the future of Groomsport Primary, Ms Eagle said that it was clear that the position of this school was no longer sustainable.

"Enrolments at this school have remained low for a number of years and only 25 children were enrolled in this school in September 2006, with only one pupil entering Year 1," she said.

"While I fully appreciate that the school has played an important role in the local village community for some 45 years, I believe closure of this school is in the best educational interests of the children concerned, allowing them to transfer to alternative provision next year, with increased educational opportunities and greater opportunities for enhancing personal and social interaction.

"The Department of Education and the South Eastern Education and Library Board will work together to facilitate, for those parents who wish it, the transfer of pupils currently at Groomsport Primary School to the nearby integrated school."

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