Northern Ireland

Lurgan campus of Craigavon Senior HS to close despite objections

Craigavon high
Image caption Since opening in 1995, Craigavon Senior High School has operated on a 'split site' on two separate campuses five miles apart

The Education Authority (EA) has confirmed it wants to close the Lurgan campus of Craigavon Senior High School (CSHS) in September 2020.

That is despite 1,150 of around 1,330 respondents to a consultation objecting to the plan.

The school currently operates on a split site with one campus in Lurgan and one in Portadown.

In 2018/19, 174 of the school's 620 pupils attended the Lurgan campus.

The EA's plan would mean all of the pupils attending the Portadown Campus alone from September 2020.

Security and health and safety issues

The authority said that it would then seek major capital investment for a new CSHS building on a single site over the next five to 10 years.

However, that would be dependent on approval and funding from the Department of Education.

A number of controlled schools in the Craigavon area operate the Dickson plan, where pupils attend an all-ability junior high school from ages 11 to 14 then transfer to CSHS, which is non-selective, or one of two local grammar schools - Lurgan College and Portadown College.

The EA has previously said that there are a number of security and health and safety issues for pupils and staff at the Lurgan campus of CSHS.

The authority also said that the split site was contributing to the school going over budget by around £500,000 a year.

Image copyright Dean Molyneaux/Geograph
Image caption All pupils would now attend the Portadown campus of the school

They said that a single site school would give pupils better educational and extra-curricular opportunities.

However, the EA's proposal has proved controversial with the Education Equality for Lurgan group, which represents some parents.

They had put forward an alternative plan for Lurgan Junior High School to change from a school for 11 to 14-year-olds to one for 11 to 16-year-olds.

That opposition is reflected in the responses to the EA consultation, which have just been published.

Some 252 of 327 parents of pupils objected to the EA's plan for the school to be on a single site in Portadown.

A statement supporting a "Lurgan school for Lurgan children" was signed by 807 people.

However 50 of 64 teachers at CSHS supported the EA's Portadown proposal.

The final decision on whether the school's Lurgan campus will close will rest with the permanent secretary at the Department of Education or an education minister.

That decision is expected in September or October 2019.

More on this story