New school to replace Drumcree approved

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Education Minister John O’Dowd has announced that Drumcree College will close in September when it will be replaced by a new school.

The decision, which had been expected today (Thursday), will see the creation of a new Key Stage 3 school (11-14 years) on the same site.

The Portadown Times understands the new school will be called St John the Baptist College.

Mr O’Dowd said, “I have carefully considered both proposals put forward to me and I have decided that maintained provision should remain in the locality.

“Over the years Drumcree College has suffered from declining enrolments and uncertainty about its future, if any.

“Having considered all the relevant information, I am approving the establishment of a new KS3 school on the site of Drumcree College with effect from 1 September 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter.

“To enact the above proposal I have also decided to approve the proposal to close the current Drumcree College beginning from September 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter.”

Sinn Féin councillor Gemma McKenna said, “It is good news for Drumcree, good news for Catholic secondary education provision and good news for Portadown.

“Many people have been working hard over a long period of years to ensure the survival of the school. I am delighted that Minister John O’Dowd has approved the proposal which effectively will save Drumcree College as an education provider in the area.

“This really is a massive boost for the local community.”