Community urged to support school as consultation starts

Drumcree College. INPT4715-403
Drumcree College. INPT4715-403

The local community is being urged to support Drumcree College as proposals on its future were due to be published yesterday (Thursday).

The Portadown Times understands there are two proposals, which are connected. They are the proposed closure in June of the school and the reopening of a new key Stage 3 school in September, which will replace it.

However, Noella Murray, recently appointed principal of Drumcree College, said there is a clause that should the school reach its target enrolment (as yet unknown), there would be scope for it becoming an 11-19 school.

Mrs Murray said the school needed the support of local people, adding “there is no reason why this school can’t take off”.

She explained, “Demographics are very clear. Within the next 10 years, there will be no places available in the surrounding areas, such as Armagh and Craigavon.

“We are very hopeful and positive about the future of Drumcree College. This is a new opportunity and a very exciting time.”

She said the fabric of the school building itself is sound and its facilities are excellent. ”We have two good gyms, a photographic room and fantastic pitches.

“Of course, it needs a facelift but the foundations are there. The people of Portadown deserve a Catholic school.

“My vision is that over the next few years we could be growing and growing.”

She added, “The examination results over the past few years have far outreached the national average and that’s down to the quality of teaching and learning.”

The publication of the proposals will be followed by a two-month consultation and a final decision by Education Minister John O’Dowd is anticipated in February.

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) was contacted for a statement on the proposals but did not respond.