Belfast Telegraph

O’Dowd announces closure of Clontifleece Primary School, Warrenpoint

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Education

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has approved a development proposal to close Clontifleece Primary School, Warrenpoint.

The proposal, put forward by the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) on behalf of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), stated that the school should close from 31 August 2013. The Minister has decided, however, that the school should remain open for the coming school year and then close formally from 31 August 2014.

Commenting on the decision, Mr O’Dowd said: “Clontifleece Primary School has provided an excellent education to children from the local community for generations. In recent years, however, the school has suffered from declining enrolments, with only 34 children enrolled in 2012/13. This low number represents less than half the school’s capacity and is not sustainable into the future. This is especially true when it is remembered that there are sufficient places for all pupils in the area at other nearby schools.

“I have therefore decided, based on the evidence and having considered all the pertinent information, to approve the proposal to close Clontifleece Primary School.

“The proposal was published on 16 May 2013 and I appreciate that this has led to some uncertainty within the local community given the imminence of the 2013/14 school year. With this in mind, I have decided to modify the proposal such that the closure will not take effect until the end of the coming school year. That is to say, the school will close on 31 August 2014.”

The Minister added: “I am sure that all those involved, including parents and school staff, will work hard to ensure a smooth transition for the children to their new schools and I wish them all the best in the future. I would also like to pay tribute to everyone connected with Clontifleece Primary School who over many years have shown their commitment and dedication to the school and its pupils.”

Notes to editors:

1. On 16 May 2013, SELB, on behalf of CCMS, published Development Proposal No. 290, which proposed Clontifleece Primary School should close from 31 August 2013, or as soon as possible thereafter.

2. The Department of Education has launched a new ‘Education Works’ advertising campaign. The campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. Watch out for the ads on television, radio and outdoor locations. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit for more information.

Watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel:

3. View photos from the Department of Education in our collection at

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