East Belfast post-primary education 'needs stabilising'


Post-primary education in East Belfast needs to be stabilised, the DUP's Robin Newton said on 28 May 2013.

Mr Newton tabled an adjournment debate regarding the future of Orangefield, Newtownbreda, Knockbreda and Dundonald High Schools.

The East Belfast MLA said parents on the Board of Governors of Orangefield High School had voted for its closure but had done so in the belief that their children would be re-accommodated in Ashfield Girls and Boys Schools.

He said girls had not been successfully transferred because a cap on pupil numbers in Ashfield had not been lifted.

With regard to the proposed merger of Newtownbreda and Knockbreda High Schools, Mr Newton said parents were concerned by the possibility of "administrative chaos".

"All of the figures indicate that when schools amalgamate, the performance suffers and this is a feature that is not being favoured by the parents," he said.

He added that Dundonald High School was a "happy and caring" place but that promises given that investment would be made were never carried through.

"There needs to be an involvement of parents and of pupils for what is going to be and there also needs to be the involvement of elected representatives," he said.

"There is nothing only confusion and chaos at this moment of time."

Education Minister John O'Dowd said he was limited on what he could say in his response to the debate although he emphasised that he had made no final decision on the future of these schools.

The minister said he had listened to the concerns raised and they would help him in his making his final decisions.

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