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Catholic post-primary colleges in Fermanagh facing axe

Mount Lourdes — like all Catholic schools — must stop using academic selection by 2012, according to a NICCE report THE Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education (NICCE) has announced plans to dramatically reduce the number of schools in Fermanagh.

The commission today published another area plan as part of its review of post-primary education across the province.

All of the proposals are based on a key directive from NICCE that all Catholic grammars should stop using academic selection by 2012.

The Clogher and Kilmore project includes the Enniskillen grammar schools Mount Lourdes and St Michael’s College.

There are currently a total of nine schools in the area with enrolments ranging from 130 pupils to 800.

The schools cater for more than 3,000 pupils but it is estimated that costly surplus places could increase to 1,000 during the next 10 years if the system stayed the same.

The NICCE proposal for the area is that there should be a maximum of three all-ability 11-19 schools located in Enniskillen and one 11-19 school in rural South East Fermanagh.

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All of these schools would be part of a “formal collaborative and mutually supportive partnership” of schools which between them would provide an education for all pupils.

More detail is due to follow on other areas over the next few weeks.

Gerry Lundy, director of the Post -primary Review, said: “The post-primary sector faces a number of significant challenges including declining demographics, the debate over the ending of academic selection, changes in the curriculum as well as the development of area-based planning.

“This consultation, which is the biggest ever undertaken by Catholic Trustees in Northern Ireland, includes options which will help address these challenges.

“We welcome views and considerations on our options or any other options or proposals which might address the challenges facing post-primary education.”

Copies of the documents can be downloaded at www.pprce.org

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