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Belfast's Little Flower School parents in repeat demand for single-sex education

Concerned parents and pupils protest the closure of Little Flower Girls' school. Picture by Philip Walsh

PARENTS fighting the closure of a successful all-girls school have repeated their demand for single sex education for their children.

North Belfast secondary Little Flower is to be discontinued, along with St Patrick's College, Bearnageeha, with the two making way for a new co-ed school in 2017.

It is expected that the school will remain split across the two existing sites until a location for a new building can be found.

Teachers and parents already concern about numerous aspects of the plan, which mean children can only win places at single sex schools if they pass the 11-plus.

Now, parents of pupils at Little Flower have highlighted what they say is an inconsistent approach to area-based planning by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS).

Plans to reorganise post-primary schools in west Belfast, which will affect four schools, were published by CCMS last month.

While three single-sex schools will merge into a single co-ed college, if approved, there are no plans to change De La Salle and St Genevieve's, both single sex providers.

"All we want is the same choice in north Belfast that they will have in west Belfast. It is only fair," one mother told the Irish News.

The new co-ed school, which is likely to operate across a split site initially, will have an enrolment number of 1,300 including 325 sixth form places.

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