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Legal bid to block merger of Newtownbreda and Knockbreda schools

By Alan Erwin

An improving Belfast secondary school will have its identity destroyed by a planned amalgamation, the High Court heard.

Lawyers for parents of children at Newtownbreda High argued no good reason has been given for its closure.

A judge was also told pupils have written to Education Minister John O'Dowd urging him to reconsider.

Mr O'Dowd is facing a legal challenge over his intention to shut both Newtownbreda High and Knockbreda High schools.

Both are set to close so that one new school can be created in the area.

The future amalgamation was announced in January after viability assessments were carried out.

Falling enrolment numbers formed part of the basis for concluding a change was required.

A principal for the planned new school is due to be appointed next month ahead of the planned opening next year.

But the parents of pupils at Newtownbreda High want the plans quashed, claiming their children's education will suffer.

The hearing continues.

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