Concerns expressed over closure plan

David Simpson. INLM4510-917con
David Simpson. INLM4510-917con

DUP Westminster candidate David Simpson and MLA Carla Lockhart have said the proposal to bus children to Portadown as a “temporary” solution is the wrong recommendation for Craigavon Senior High School (Lurgan Campus).

The DUP representatives have reassured parents they will continue to challenge this decision and they have been working with EA and officials to try and secure funding for the long term investment in a Senior High in Lurgan.

Ms Lockhart said, “I have been very disappointed with the untruths that have been pedalled with regards to the future of Craigavon Senior High School (Lurgan Campus).

“To state that there could be a potential closure in September is factually wrong and extremely unsettling for the children and parents concerned.

“The children are my main focus and this decision to bus children to Portadown is I believe the wrong one. Whilst I acknowledge there are major problems with the estate it is imperative that we endeavour and strive for a Lurgan solution.

“The EA have not approved this closure and any such change would also require ministerial approval therefore I would implore people to keep calm and continue to make plans to send your children to the school.

“This once again highlights the need for a devolved administration at Stormont to tackle issues like this and obtain the necessary finances to rebuild/refurbish the campus within Lurgan. It does need money spent on it but that is part of an ongoing assessment.”

Mr Simpson commented, “This is a shocking but not binding decision by the Board of Governors. I will be challenging this however and would reassure parents that some of the detail in this story is factually incorrect.

“There is no decision to close this school in September 2017. We will be fighting for a Lurgan solution and will be working with all the stakeholders over the coming weeks and months to try and bring about a resolve.”

Alliance Westminster candidate for Upper Bann, Tara Doyle, called for education authorities to ensure the best interests of young people are considered before money.

Ms Doyle said: “The Lurgan Campus of Craigavon Senior High School has long been neglected and is not fit for purpose. The plans to close this campus and bus the 200 young people every day to Portadown are ill thought out, as they do not take into account the disruption to the daily routines of the students.

“It is essential the education authorities put the best interests of the young people ahead of short term attempts to save money. The site of the Junior High School in Lurgan has enough capacity to facilitate a new Senior High School, and this would help maintain educational opportunities, and jobs, in Lurgan.”