Belfast Telegraph

School ‘to close’ prep department

by Michael Bashford

Bloomfield Collegiate Preparatory School in east Belfast is set to close next year because of diminishing numbers.

Media reports in recent days had blamed Education Minister Caitriona Ruane's decision to cut funding for prep schools across Northern Ireland for the news that the school will close.

East Belfast DUP MLA Lord Browne also claimed the “closure was necessitated by the funding cuts to prep schools made by Ruane”.

However, it seems Ms Ruane's decision was simply a “final tipping point” for the school.

In a statement from the school no mention was made of Ms Ruane's recent announcement.

It said: “The Board of Governors of Bloomfield Collegiate School has come to the difficult, yet necessary decision to submit a Development Proposal to close their Preparatory Department in August 2011.

“The main purpose of the development proposal procedure is to ensure that all interested parties are informed about proposed changes to schools and have an opportunity to comment on any proposed development that may affect them before decisions are taken. All objections and comments received are considered in reaching a final decision on a development proposal.

“The school is at the very early stages of this process and has already engaged in regular consultations with parents and staff regarding the future of the school.

“For many years Bloomfield Collegiate Preparatory Department has provided a unique close knit environment for our pupils. Throughout its long history, small class sizes and personal attention have been at the heart of the Prep School’s ethos. Another vital component has been the partnership between the parents and the school.

“Until such time as this procedure is completed the school can make no further comment.”

Bloomfield Collegiate and Preparatory School opened its doors to pupils on Monday, September 4, 1905.

In 1957 a new site was purchased in Astoria Gardens with the foundation stone being laid on March 30, 1961. The new building was officially opened the following year by the Lady Mayoress of Belfast but was already filled to capacity by the three hundred pupils enrolled that year.

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