Northern Ireland news

Governors at De La Salle College in Belfast quit as principal returns

De La Salle College in west Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell
Brendan Hughes

THREE members of a west Belfast school's board of governors have resigned following the announcement that the principal is to return after a two-year absence.

Claire White had been on leave since May 2016 from the De La Salle College, which has been involved in a series of controversies.

In a letter to parents last week, the chair of the board of governors Monica Culbert said they were "in agreement that it is now the right time for Mrs White to return as principal".

However, governors Michael Collins, Michael O'Hara and Nuala McCabe have subsequently resigned.

Mr Collins told the BBC: "Regrettably, I do not feel that the decision taken is in the best interests of pupils."

In a statement on behalf of the remaining governors, Ms Culbert said that they regretted the resignations.

Problems at De La Salle, a Catholic boys' secondary school with around 1,100 pupils, emerged in 2015 when about a third of staff were absent on a single day – prompting protests from parents.

An independent panel in 2016 found a serious breakdown of working relationships had impacted substantially on pupils.

Mrs White has said she is looking forward to "working again with everyone in the school community as we continue to develop provision for the boys".

However, the Concerned Parents of De La Salle committee said it could not understand the decision.

"We leave it to parents to decide how they wish to move forward with this shock announcement," a spokesman said.

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