Education news

Troubled Crumlin Integrated College outlines 10-year plan

Crumlin Integrated College has launched a decade of growth plan

AN integrated college has launched a new plan to improve over the next 10 years.

After a challenging few years, Crumlin Integrated College has launched its Decade of Growth, which outlines its vision until 2028.

It includes a new school, provision for learning for post-16, and the college transforming into a central hub for youth in the Crumlin area.

At present the school only has about 100 children across first to fifth years.

In recent years the school was criticised by inspectors for failing to provide an acceptable standard of education due primarily to short-comings in management.

They highlighted major deficiencies in leadership, poor teaching standards and exam results, and inadequate special-needs provision

Following this, principal Dr Annabelle Scott was removed from her post and sent for training after the publication of a damning inspection report.

Parents protested at the school gates upon her return. She was later warned by police to stay away from the school because of a death threat.

Three years ago, it was proposed that the school shut down and a new college open in the same building the very next day. This was rejected, however.

Thousands of young people leave Crumlin every day to go to schools elsewhere - at a cost of about £800,000 a year. Children board buses every morning to travel to grammar schools in Belfast, Lisburn and beyond.

Acting principal Lynda McGarry said it had been "well documented that Crumlin Integrated College has experienced a challenging time".

"From formal intervention in 2010 to the threat of closure, we have now turned the school around, and started to rebuild Crumlin Integrated College into an excellent, sustainable school that we're all extremely proud of," she said.

"For the first time in many years, we have two Year 8 classes, we experienced our highest-ever intake and 86 per cent of pupils achieved five or more A*-C grades in their GCSEs. Therefore, we felt that the time was right to focus on our future, and we are thrilled to launch our Decade of Growth plan, which sets in stone our plans for the next 10 years."

The plan focuses on 10 key areas that are central to the school's development, including `a building for growth', `future proofing career pathways' and `beyond the school day'.

In March, a new youth unit is being installed at the school, adding to the development of the college campus, and offering a resource for the young people of Crumlin.

James Livingstone, acting chair of the board of governors, said a holistic view on the vision for the school had been taken.

"In addition to further improving our results and increasing our pupil numbers by 30% year-on-year over the next five years, we have ambitious plans for the school's involvement in the local community," he said.

"From extended school premises opening hours, to ensuring our teaching is aligned to solid career pathways for the students, much of the groundwork has already commenced."

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