Committee to press BELB on Hazelwood College dispute


Stormont's Education Committee agreed to press the Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB) "urgently" on why 200 sixth form pupils were sent home from a north Belfast school on 3 September 2013.

A dispute over land beside Hazelwood Integrated College left the school without accommodation.

The land containing new mobile classrooms was padlocked shut by the BELB.

The school blamed "an administrative, protracted issue" over the land lease.

The land is owned by the board, which said the lease process was complicated and that the school had been told the lease would not be sorted by the start of September.

On 4 September, the committee's chairman Mervyn Storey said he would be approaching the board as a "matter of urgency".

"You would have thought that the issue would have been resolved before the school doors opened," he said.

Ulster Unionist Danny Kinahan said he had emailed the education minister's office but had yet to receive a reply.

"We really need to get the message out that this needs to be dealt with within the week," he said.

The committee also agreed to write to the health minister to ask if he would inform it of any actions he intended to take following the death of a 14-year-old boy due to second impact syndrome.

Ben Robinson, from Carrickfergus, County Antrim, died after suffering concussion during a school rugby match in January 2011.

The syndrome, which a coroner described as the first such death in Northern Ireland, happens when a blow causes swelling to the brain before it has recovered fully from an earlier injury.

Mr Storey said he had spoken to Health Minister Edwin Poots as "obviously this is an issue of concern for us all".

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