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Castlederg high school to close in 2013, says minister

St Eugene’s High School in Co Tyrone is to close next year, the Education Minister has announced.

The closure of the Castlederg co-educational school will take place on a phased basis with no admissions to Years 8 or 11 in September this year and the complete closure of the school from August 31, 2013.

The school opened in 1961.

Minister John O’Dowd said: “For over 50 years St Eugene’s High School has provided post-primary education for young people from this rural community.

“However, demographic decline over recent years, together with parental preference for places at other local providers, has adversely impacted on enrolments in the school, with only 127 pupils enrolled in the school in 2011/2012.

“This position is clearly not tenable and it is with this in mind that the school trustees, supported by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), have put forward this proposal for closure.

“It is important that there is minimal disruption to the education of the children concerned, which is why I have approved this proposal for phased closure over the next 12 months.

“I wish the pupils all the best in the future as they move to new schools and I pay tribute to all those connected with St Eugene’s High School for their hard work and dedication over many years.”

Mr O’Dowd said the closure was recommended in the Strategic Report of the NI Commission for Catholic Education and was reflected in the Western Education and Library Board’s post-primary area plan.

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