New principal gives hope to Dungannon primary school threatened with closure

Clintyclay PS in Clonmore
Clintyclay PS in Clonmore

The appointment of a new principal at a Dungannon school under threat of closure has given hope to the local community.

Mrs Fiona Hampsey has taken over the running of Clintyclay Primary School, which she attended as a pupil, succeeding former principal Mr Barry Randall, who retired in June.

Mrs Hampsey says she is hoping to help usher in a bright future for the rural school, which is seeing a steady increase in numbers again this year.

When Clintyclay’s enrolment dropped below 30 pupils, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) had proposed that it should close.

An alternative proposal advanced by the school’s Board of Governors to change its management to grant-maintained integrated status was rejected.

At the time of his announcement in October 2014 the Minister said enrolment numbers meant it was no longer sustainable.

Due to this long-term situation switching to integrated status was not regarded as a feasible option.

The parents of a pupil at the school applied to judicially review his determination, argued that the closure decision should have been deferred until a full assessment of the transformation option was carried out.

“The school is at risk of closure and it is still under judicial review, but we are very positive”, said Mrs Hampsey.

“The numbers have gone up again and we have seven new Primary 1 pupils, five in the reception class and we have already had a pupil switching over to Clintyclay from another school and have had a few more enquiries in that regard.

“The fact the CCMS appointed me as principal is being taken by everyone in the Clonmore area as a very positive move for the school’s future.”

Mrs Hampsey has spent the past 15 years teaching at Holy Trinity Primary School in Cookstown.