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Challenge to court ruling allowing Clintyclay School's bid to go integrated

By Rebecca Black

A High Court ruling that quashed a decision to close the first Catholic school trying to switch to integrated status is to be challenged.

Supporters of Clintyclay School on the outskirts of Dungannon were left devastated last year when the Sinn Fein Education Minister, John O'Dowd, announced it would be closed. He had been presented with two propositions for the future of the rural primary school - one from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools to close it and one from the Board of Governors of the school to allow it to transform to an integrated school.

Mr O'Dowd's decision to shut it was challenged in the courts by Gerard and Breda Cunningham, whose child is a pupil. In March, the High Court quashed Mr O'Dowd's decision to shut it.

The judge ruled that the minister's approval to close Clintyclay Primary was "infected" by incorrect information that the school had financial problems.

Mr Cunningham, who is also head of the board of governors, said: "We are not challenging the minister's educational policy, but the report that closed our school was flawed in that we proved we were financially viable.

"We cannot see why the minister did not accept the judge's position. We would call on him to reconsider the decision to appeal."

Mr Cunningham said Clintyclay, a two-teacher school, could have up to 42 pupils in September.

Belfast Telegraph


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