The Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC) has said it ‘is in support of the publication of a development proposal that Craigavon Senior High School will operate on a single site’ in Portadown.
Confirmation of their stance came in a letter leaked to the Lurgan Mail which said: “There is agreement and evidenced need for a change in provision on the Lurgan campus of Craigavon Senior High School (CSHS) and a recognition and need to make CSHS more coherent and educationally and financially viable.
“CSSC welcomes the Education Authority’s assurance that the short term accommodation needs will be met in transferring to the single site and further welcomes the commitment to secure funding for major capital investment from the Department of Education in the next 5-10 years.
“It is the view of CSSC that by addressing the educational, financial, and health and safety issues the school will be enabled to provide a safe educational setting, enhance the quality of educational provision, and move towards a more stable financial environment.
“The recent appointment of a permanent principal along with a strong leadership and management team, and a Board of Governors which is committed to providing a quality educational experience, indicate that the school is well placed to manage any changes required.
“CSSC is mindful of the strong community interest in this proposal and would request that all interests are given due consideration.
“CSSC is of the opinion that the Education Authority, in identifying its preferred option, has sought to: maintain the integrity of the Dickson Plan; provide a Lurgan solution, had this been possible and secure a type of provision that is in the best interests of CSHS pupils.”
“A strong desire was consistently expressed throughout the consultation process by all stakeholders that post-16 provision within CSHS is of critical importance in meeting the needs of the pupils who choose a non-selective pathway within the Dickson Plan and that the implementation of this should be accelerated.
“In supporting the publication of a development proposal which would enable CSHS to operate on a single site, CSSC supports the need to accelerate the establishment of post-16 provision within the school.
“Finally, CSSC would concur with the views of the vast majority of controlled schools in the area and acknowledges, should the proposal be approved, that: there is a clear need for suitable transport provision to be provided to ensure that the transfer of pupils to the new campus operates efficiently and effectively the appropriate accommodation is ready and fit for purpose when the transfer of pupils takes place any future development of a major capital programme will require careful consideration and appropriate consultation with regard to the site for a new school.
“CSSC wishes to thank all of those involved in the controlled sector in the Craigavon area, for their participation and contributions to this complex process.”
The CSSC was established in September 2016 as an advocacy body for almost half of all schools in Northern Ireland.
The body supports controlled schools, which are open to all faiths and none, in providing high quality education for children and young people to enable them to learn, develop and grow together, within the ethos of non-denominational Christian values and principles.