DCSIMG

Dickson Plan is ‘secure’ claim two colleges

Mr Simon Harpur, front centre, principal of Portadown College, Peter Aiken, front right, chair of the board of governors and Kenneth Twyble, vice chair with their counterparts from Lurgan College, Trevor Robinson, principal, Stanley Abraham, chair of the board of governors and Ruth Craig, vice chair. INPT08-100gc

Mr Simon Harpur, front centre, principal of Portadown College, Peter Aiken, front right, chair of the board of governors and Kenneth Twyble, vice chair with their counterparts from Lurgan College, Trevor Robinson, principal, Stanley Abraham, chair of the board of governors and Ruth Craig, vice chair. INPT08-100gc

Craigavon’s two grammar schools believe the Dickson Plan is “secure for generations” after last week’s decision by the Southern Education and Library Board to withdrew its controversial Option A proposal.

The principals and chairs of the boards of governors at Portadown and Lurgan Colleges met at Portadown College last Thursday night and discussed the move to discard proposals that would have seen bilateral schools established in both towns.

The governors from the colleges claimed the decision reflected public opinion after the vast majority of parents rejected Option A in a consultation process.

The governors said, “The boards of governors of Portadown College and Lurgan College welcome the decision of the SELB to reflect the wishes of the community by removing Option A as a foundation for a Development Proposal for the controlled sector in Craigavon,” they said.

“The governors of both boards are delighted that the Dickson Plan has been secured for future generations. They look forward to contributing in due course to ongoing discussions leading to the enhancement of the Dickson Plan and the provision of high quality education for all young people in Craigavon.”

However, the SELB itself and Education Minister John O’Dowd have both hinted that no change to the current Dickson Plan system isn’t an option.

In last week’s Times, Mr O’Dowd slammed the SELB for its “failure” to resolve education problems in Upper Bann and called for it to produce a timetable of how it would resolve “education inequality”.

SELB chairperson Plunkett Campbell says the board will now “embark on a wider consultation”.

He added, “The board looks forward to constructive engagement with educationalists, elected representatives and the local community in the near future in seeking a way forward which addresses outstanding issues and is capable of commanding widespread support.”

 

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