Catholic primary school to fight closure plans

Clintyclay PS in Clonmore
Clintyclay PS in Clonmore

The first Catholic school to seek to become integrated has been earmarked for closure by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools.

Supporters of Clintyclay Primary School, Clonmore, which opened in 1893, had wanted the CCMS to delay its proposal to allow for consideration to be given to its transformation bid.

However, the publication of the closure plans last week would not sound the death knell for the school as the process to transform it can run parallel.

Although the SELB has not yet received a development proposal from the Board of Governors of Clintyclay for transformation, sources have said it is in the pipeline.

CCMS has said the 30-pupil school is unviable. However, its numbers have remained steady and the school is financially viable and the quality of education was rated by inspectors as very good.

It has also emerged that there is a demand for integrated education in the area that Clintyclay serves.

According to SELB figures, the only oversubscribed sector in the Dungannon District Council area, under which Clintyclay falls, is integrated. In fact the Catholic maintained sector has the highest amount of unfilled spaces – 1,323 – which is more than three times that of the controlled sector.

There is just one integrated primary school, Windmill Integrated, which has not only increased its enrolment year-on-year but is still oversubscribed.

In 2009/10 its enrolment was 202 pupils, climbing to 203, 205, 215 and now stands at 233 – despite its approved enrolment being 210 pupils. Noreen Campbell, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, said: “Windmill Integrated Primary is massively oversubscribed. Dungannon is one of the few areas where we have a growing population of young children.”

Clintyclay has already started its transformation journey after 100% of parents backed proposals for it to become integrated earlier this month.

The independent voting process was overseen and validated by the Electoral Reform Service.