Axe hangs over popular primary school’s future

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Parents of children at an Augher Primary School have reacted with dismay to plans to close the school at the end of the summer.

Education chiefs have just concluded a consultation on the proposed closure of St Brigid’s Primary School, which has been suggested could take place on August 31, just months away.

The enrolment at the Clogher Valley Catholic primary has decreased steadily over the past five years. At the time of the last education inspection report in 2012 it stood at just 35 pupils. However, numbers have now dwindled to just 19 pupils.

The school was rated as ‘good’ in terms of pupils’ achievements, the quality of learning, and management.

SDLP Councillor Sharon McAleer has warned there should be better long-term planning for education in the area.

“The St Brigid’s building is one of the newer schools in the area and it would be a shame to lose this valuable resource”, she said. “With the improvements in the local infrastructure, including the new A5 road, it is expected that there will be more housing developments around Augher and a boost in pupil numbers over the next ten years.

“Some of the parents are dismayed about the closure, and are annoyed that the consultation process began over the summer when many were not prepared for it.”

Ms McAleer welcomed the two month objection period for the closure plans. ”This will give parents and community representatives an opportunity to make their views and concerns 
known.”

Education Minister Peter Weir said all views and opinions will be considered.