Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

School’s expansion proposal rejected by John O’Dowd

John O'Dowd
John O'Dowd

Education Minister John O’Dowd has turned down a development proposal to increase capacity at a rural school in Co Tyrone.

The Western Education and Library Board, on behalf of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, had proposed that St Dympna’s Primary School in Dromore increase its enrolment from 145 to 210 pupils and its admission number from 21 to 30 pupils with effect from September 1.

However, this has been turned down by the minister because of the situation facing other schools in the area.

“St Dympna’s is a popular rural primary school with a healthy enrolment. However, there are several other small rural schools in the same area whose future is currently under review by the managing authorities,” he said.

“With this in mind, and given that within a five-mile radius there is a surplus of places in the maintained sector and that five of the six schools in that area have enrolments below the ‘Sustainable Schools’ threshold, I am unable to approve this proposal to expand St Dympna’s.

“It would be premature to agree to the expansion of St Dympna’s until such time as there is greater clarity on the picture of provision overall in the area. It is therefore important that anyone with an interest in education provision in the Dromore area makes their views known on the WELB draft primary area plan.

“The plan is out for public consultation until the end of June and can be viewed at www.puttingpupilsfirst.info.”

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