Education news

Parents `in the dark' over Mournes school merger

Three schools in Lower Mourne will merge in September

PARENTS claim they are being left in the dark about the details of a three-school merger.

A new primary school in Co Down has been inviting applications from P1 pupils for admission this September, although it remains unclear where it will be located.

It is planned that St Joseph's in Ballymartin, St Mary's in Glasdrumman and Moneydarragh PS will amalgamate on a new site and in a new building to accommodate up to 205 pupils.

The name of the new school has still to be agreed.

The original recommended option was that the schools would be amalgamated on a new site in Seaview Heights in Ballymartin.

However, a group supporting the retention of education in the Moneydarragh area said it was best placed to be the central hub.

The site or sites will be determined by the interim board in agreement with the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools. Children attending the three existing schools will automatically transfer.

Now a group called Concerned Parents of Lower Mourne Schools Community claims there has been a "lack of consultation, information and inclusion of parents in the decision-making process".

The group said it was concerned that no site had been secured and the school would proceed even though the interim board had made no decision on location.

"Parents of pre-school children in the Lower Mourne area have had to select a primary school for September without knowing the location," the group said in a statement.

"At this stage parents feel they are not being given enough time or information to ensure that the transition doesn't impact their children's education negatively or that they are able to prepare for the practicalities of such a dramatic change.

"To not be involved or at the least consulted in the decisions that directly affect their children is not acceptable."

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