‘Plan’ to change Drumcree to junior high-type school

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A consultation is to take place on transforming Drumcree College into an age 11-14 school, it has been claimed.

Sinn Fein said it had been informed that the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) is planning to consult on a proposal to establish a Key Stage 3 (junior high) school on the current site.

Councillor Gemma McKenna said, “The latest proposal will see Catholic post-primary education continue in Portadown. A Key Stage 3 school, or in other words a junior high school, will allow young people to transfer to Drumcree where they will be educated from 11 to 14 and then transfer to a school of their choice, either in Lurgan, Craigavon or Armagh, to complete their education.

“While many would like to see an 11-16 school on the current site the 11-14 proposal gives certainty to local parents and pupils and means the school stays open.”

She said the proposal “deserves careful consideration and analysis by anyone interested in keeping Catholic post primary education in Portadown”.

Ms McKenna added, “Uncertainty has plagued Drumcree College for too long. Parents, pupils and staff deserve to know what the future holds. A previous proposal to close the school was withdrawn by CCMS, something which was very much welcomed. However, since then there has been an air of uncertainty.

“Population projections indicate that in around 10 years there will be sufficient pupils in Portadown to create an 11-18 school on the Drumcree site. What we have to ensure now is that there is a school to take these pupils in. If we lose Drumcree College now then all hope for a future school is lost too.

“The staff and pupils of Drumcree deserve certainty that requires a vision and a plan.”

CCMS were contacted this week by the Portadown Times and asked for a statement but failed to respond by the time of going to press.

The school said it is unable to comment at this stage.