Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Ballymena schools Cambridge House and Ballee Community High marked for closure

The future of Cambridge House Grammar School and Ballee Community High School are in serious doubt after the Northern Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) published its vision for the future of post primary provision.

Both schools are in formal intervention after being heavily criticised by the Education and Training Inspectorate.

Under the area plans, published late yesterday, it is proposed to close both Cambridge House and Ballee Community High.

Other options that the public have until October 26 to comment on include increasing pupil numbers at Antrim Grammar to 805, Parkhall becoming an an 11-19 school with 800 pupils, a single 11-19 school for 1,900 pupils on the Galgorm Road, Ballymena with Ballymena Academy assimilating Cambridge House.

Click here to see the full plans

Cullybackey High School increasing to 850 pupils, Slemish College re-locating to Ballee Community High School site to cater for 850 pupils and St Louis Grammar School, St Patrick’s College and St Benedict’s College establishing a partnership leading to the creation of one school with St Louis leading this development for 1,950 pupils.

Schools featured in the long-awaited plans are Antrim Grammar, Ballee Community High, Ballymena Academy, Cambridge House, Castle Tower Special School, Cullybackey High School, Parkhall Integrated College, Dunclug College, Slemish College, St Patrick’s College, St Louis’ Grammar and St Benedict’s College.

NEELB’s senior education officer, Ray Gilbert, said: “I look forward to hearing views on these proposals as we aim to shape the education provision for the current and future generations of young people in the Antrim/Ballymena, Coleraine and Newtownabbey areas.”

The proposals have been published in advance of the wider NEELB plan, which will cover all schools in the area.

Minister O’Dowd has asked all Education and Library Boards to publish their draft post-primary area plans for public consultation in early July.

The public will have the opportunity to comment on the plans until October.

By the end of the year final area plans will be published and the work will begin on restructuring the future schools’ estate.

The Minister added: “I would urge parents, pupils and the public to consider these proposals fully and those that will follow for other areas in the near future.

“I want an estate shaped by the needs of our young people, not the needs of institutions, and I do not want this debate to be dominated by those who are afraid of change.

“Every child deserves high quality education and I am determined through the process of area planning that we will a have a network of strong viable schools delivering high quality education for all pupils.”

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