College will retain its grammar status, education board claims

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Portadown College would retain its grammar school status under proposals to reshape the Dickson Plan, the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) has claimed.

The board maintains the bilateral Portadown College envisaged in Option A “would continue to be known as a controlled grammar school”.

The school, which would be created by the combination of the College and the Portadown campus of Craigavon Senior High School, would also have selective and non-selective intakes, a board spokesman said.

The same would apply to Lurgan College and the senior high campus there.

However, the assertion has been rejected by a spokesman for the Boards of Governors of Portadown and Lurgan Colleges who described it as a “deplorable” attempt to “hoodwink” the community.

“This is a deliberate strategy on the part of the SELB to mislead and to trick the community into accepting an option which is a comprehensive model and which will result in the eventual destruction of the Dickson Plan,” the spokesperson said.

The board has always maintained that its proposals are true to Dickson fundamentals, notably automatic transfer from primary school with delayed academic selection determining the pupil’s path from age 14.

It said an information leaflet explaining the proposals will be sent out next week to families with children attending schools within the two-tier system or recognised feeder primaries.

The leaflet will be accompanied by a questionnaire to be returned to the SELB by a date in January, with responses being considered by the board as it decides on the way forward.

“The board is committed to consulting with parents, staff and governors on its proposals before deciding if these should be published as development proposals for full public consultation,” the spokesman said.

“Meetings with governors, staff and parents of children attending the two-tier system schools will be arranged in due course.”




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