Children at Castlewellan school earmarked for closure 'let down by Stormont stalemate'
The decision to close a Co Down primary school is another example of parents and pupils being let down by the lack of an Executive, a councillor has claimed.
It has been confirmed that Castlewellan Primary School will shut from August 31, 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter following the end of a public consultation on June 28.
Although the school has the capacity for 110 pupils, the enrolment figures have regularly fallen well below this target in recent years. Ulster Unionist councillor Alan Lewis said the news was extremely disappointing and added that major decisions must not be made by an unelected Permanent Secretary for the Department of Education.
"This farce is another example of how parents and pupils are being let down by political stalemate - decisions made behind closed doors for the benefit of cost saving," he said.
Mr Lewis believes the department must focus its efforts on saving the school's moderate learning difficulties unit.
He questioned what the Education Authority (EA) had done to address concerns surrounding the closure of the school.
"What attempts were made to support the school, its staff, pupils and parents?" Mr Lewis asked.
"Was the consultation only a paper exercise? Do the EA care what parents think? Are they interested in engaging with local representatives?
"We simply cannot have a quick fix. There now must be real and meaningful dialogue, focused on securing a long-term solution."