Drumcree GCSE pupils guaranteed another two years
PARENTS of year 10 children attending Drumcree College have been assured that the school will be open for the next two years.
Last week it was announced that the school, which has been earmarked for closure by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), would be opening as usual in 2013-2014.
But in the latest announcement, it confirmed that Drumcree would be given another two years before any closure would take effect and that pupils would remain at the school to complete GCSEs.
A statement said, “In respect of year 10 pupils currently enrolled, the process that CCMS uses envisages a two-year period for phasing out/closing a post-primary school. As a consequence of that, pupils starting year 11 this September would remain in the school to complete their studies in year 12, irrespective of the outcome of the consultation process.”
However, there was no clarification from the CCMS on whether all pupils would be guaranteed a further two years in the school.
A spokesperson for CCMS said it wanted to speak to governors at Drumcree College first before making a public announcement but that it would be commenting in the coming days.
The latest news has been welcomed by Drumcree principal Noel Bullock who said the longer the school stayed open the better chance it had of being spared closure.
He said, “This talk of possible closure has been going on for the six years I have been principal and we are still here. I think that given the resilience of parents and staff the CCMS will be open-minded during the coming consultation process.”
He admitted, however, that parents and staff were becoming frustrated at the lack of clarity and the ongoing uncertainty. He said, “The two-year extension is just another date on the calendar. In the meantime, we are getting on with our jobs.”
With regards to a proposal that Drumcree College should amalgamate with St John the Baptist PS and Presentation PS to form an educational village, Mr Bullock said this was one of a number of options that had been considered in the very early days of the rationalistation process.
He added, “There have been no meetings between ourselves and the primary schools or even discussion of this by the school’s Board of Governors. There is nothing firm about it at all.”
This was confirmed by Mario Gribbon, principal of St John the Baptist PS, who said the proposal had never been discussed by the schools in question. “I imagine it was mooted in some of the responses to the questionnaire,” he added.
In the SELB area plan document, released last week, the CCMS said a large number of respondents had proposed establishing an educational village in Portadown.
They said the educational village, along with the future of the school’s Learning Support Unit, which caters for 27 pupils, would be discussed in the forthcoming consultations with governors, staff, parents and pupils, due to start after April.
The Portadown Times contacted the CCMS this week to find out how they envisaged any such educational village would work and whether it would accommodate pupils up to the age of 18.
The CCMS again declined to comment at this stage but said a statement would be released shortly.
Meanwhile, the results of a consultation on the future of primary schools is due to be published on March 19, with amalgamations of small primary schools a distinct possibility.
In a statement Education Minister John O’Dowd said, “For the primary sector, my intention is that dialogue at local level, taking on board the lessons learned in the post-primary process, will result in more practical and sustainable solutions, including the potential, where appropriate, for increased sharing of accommodation and resources.”
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Weather for Portadown
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west