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Principal Elizabeth Armstrong to lead new Enniskillen Royal Grammar School she opposed

Elizabeth Armstrong, head of Collegiate Grammar, will lead the new Enniskillen Royal Grammar School

A HEAD teacher who protested on the steps of Stormont against the creation of a new grammar school will be its first principal.

Elizabeth Armstrong will take charge of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School when it opens in September.

The new 900-pupil, co-ed school will replace Portora Royal and the all girls' Collegiate Grammar in the town, which are being 'discontinued'.

The plan to bring pupils together divided opinion. Portora's governors and the former Western Education and Library Board, whose members included unionist and nationalist councillors, unanimously supported the plan.

A petition to save the Collegiate was delivered to Stormont, however. Ms Armstrong, who has been Collegiate principal since 2004, was among those who protested at Stormont.

At the time the merger was approved, Ms Armstrong claimed the fight to save her school was far from over saying all possible options to overturn the decision would be explored.

Later, when assembly speaker Mitchel McLaughlin refused to refer the decision to the Executive for consideration, Ms Armstrong expressed "astonishment".

"We as a school community remain resolute in our determination to overturn the minister's highly controversial decision which will lead, if unchallenged, to the closure of two strong and successful school communities," she said at the time.

"Our young people and our community deserve so much better."

The outgoing head of Portora, Neil Morton, has now sent a letter to parents criticising Ms Armstrong.

Dr Morton spoke of Ms Armstrong's "implacable opposition" to amalgamation saying it had come at a very high price.

"The person who was responsible for 10 years, along with others, for delaying this amalgamation - and all the consequences of that for the students in Fermanagh, new buildings, new curriculum, everything was delayed because of that," he said.

"That person now has been appointed to the school that she opposed for so long."

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