Belfast Telegraph

Protesters take to streets to vent anger at special schools plan

By Rebecca Black

Scores of people attended a protest outside the Education Authority's Belfast premises yesterday over concerns for proposals to merge a number of special schools.

School supporters waved placards and heard speeches outside the Academy Street premises in the second such demonstration after it emerged the Education Authority (EA) is considering plans to create three new "super schools" in Belfast.

People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll, who helped organise the protest, said there was a lot of anger over the plans.

"It's time the EA sat up and listened to the groundswell of public opinion. Rather than closing their doors, we should be investing more into them, to ensure children with special needs receive the support they deserve," he said.

"The groundswell of anger, the mass demonstrations held, and the 10,000-plus signatures on petitions, in a matter of weeks, shows just how much objection there is out there to these proposals."

The protest came yesterday as the EA started a series of engagements with parents, staff and governors from special schools on plans.

Dr Clare Mangan from the EA said: "This engagement is driven by serious concerns, identified by both EA and ETI, about the poor standard of some school buildings and the impact on children and staff. Our objective, through this engagement, is to identify opportunities for future investment in special schools in Belfast. EA anticipates that this process will take some time and will facilitate further opportunities for engagement."

Belfast Telegraph


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