Glenavon Football and Athletic Club have given their backing to a campaign opposing a proposal to bus pupils of Craigavon senior High School to Portadown.
The proposals were exclusively revealed by the Lurgan Mail last year and since then there has been a groundswell of opposition - championed by the Education Equality for Lurgan group.
In a letter from Glenavon FC from the Board of Directors the club stated it “strongly opposes plans to bus Lurgan children in the 14-16 key stage group to the Portadown campus of Craigavon Senior High school to continue their education”.
The club went on: “If proposals to educate 14-16 year olds from Lurgan in Portadown (or anywhere else outside of Lurgan) go ahead, Glenavon FC have no doubt whatsoever that the removal of these children from Lurgan will have a negative long term impact on the immediate community and Lurgan as a whole.
“The potential impact to organisations such as ourselves, and in particular Glenavon Academy, and other sporting clubs including Lurgan Rugby and Cricket Club and Lurgan Ladies Hockey Club with their youth programmes, could be extremely detrimental in the long term, with the following effects:
“• No clear education pathway in Lurgan for 12-16 year olds will lead to parents taking the decision to educate their children in other towns such as Portadown, Lisburn and Banbridge. This will naturally lead to children gravitating to sporting clubs within these towns and away from local clubs such as our Academy.
Thee club expressed concern children would have less time for recreational activities due to travel time, and limits the opportunity for these children to attend local sports clubs to train in the evenings, it could also mean the loss of future core supporters from Glenavon as the children are stretched further afield and families move from the area to be closer to new schools and Glenavon Academy could be impacted should these children be removed from Lurgan from age 14.
The club concluded: “Furthermore the Board will be happy demonstrate its support should it be required to do so including meeting with the relevant personnel in the Education Skills Authority if it was felt that would be useful.”