Northern Ireland

Elmgrove Primary School, Belfast, intends to reopen on Monday after email threat

Media captionElmgrove Primary School principal Jayne Jeffers said it was the school's intention to open on Monday

The principal of an east Belfast primary school closed after a "malicious" email threat has said the school plans to reopen on Monday.

Jayne Jeffers said she would be engaging with the police and the Belfast Education and Library Board.

She said the school planned to confirm the Monday opening to parents on Sunday by text and its website.

Previously Elmgrove Primary School had said it would be closed on Friday.

It said this was due to "unforeseen circumstances".

The police said they were investigating a report of "malicious telecommunications" reported to them on Wednesday 21 January.

A 33-year-old man was arrested in Belfast on Thursday night in connection with it.

Police said "the communication was of a threatening nature" and said they were working with police in the Republic of Ireland.

Extra police patrols had been deployed around the school on the Beersbridge Road.

Media captionPolice officers were outside the school on Friday morning, as Mark Simpson reports

East Belfast MP Naomi Long said the email had been sent to "third parties", not directly to the school.

Education Minister John O'Dowd has condemned the threat.

"To attempt to intimidate any community is unacceptable, but to direct a threat against a school is particularly unfathomable," he said.

Elmgrove Primary School said in a statement that "at no time was the safety of the pupils compromised or risks taken".

The statement said the school took immediate action to safeguard pupils and that their welfare was of "paramount importance".

It said it was contacted by the police during Thursday lunchtime "regarding malicious telecommunications that had been received by two external sources referencing the school, and a threat to the safety of our pupils".

"Once the information was received by the school, senior management acted promptly, following agreed procedures, and called an emergency meeting to gather information and assess risk," it said.

"Subsequently, the decision to close the school on Friday 23 January was taken in conjunction with the PSNI and the Belfast Education and Library Board.

"The school was instructed not to release any information that could potentially compromise the ongoing police investigation and so a brief text was issued to parents regarding the closure.

"The police maintained a presence on the school site on Thursday afternoon as a precautionary measure."