Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Gildernew call for urgent resolution to Clintyclay PS

Published: 1 May, 2015

Michelle Gildernew has called for the appeal lodged by the Department of Education against a previous court ruling to overturn the closure of Clintyclay Primary School to be heard as quickly possible, so as to allow parents and pupils to know for certain the future of the school.

Ms Gildernew said:

"I am calling for an urgent resolution to the issues and a definitive legal ruling to made on the legal merits or otherwise of the Clintyclay proposals.

"I understand the legal implications of the ruling by Judge Treacy to keep the school open goes beyond Clintyclay. It is of such legal significance to the implementation of Department Education policy, that the Minister believes he has been left with no choice but to seek legal clarification at the Appeals court.

" I have urged the Minister to ensure the appeal is heard as quickly as possible and all legal wrangles are resolved once and for all."

Commenting on the future of Clintyclay primary school Ms Gildernew said:

"As a local representative I support the call by parents of Clinticlay to keep the school open. However, it has been clear for over a decade that for our education system to succeed we need a network of sustainable schools.

"The Minister must act in what he believes is in the best interest of the entire education system. A failure to act against unsustainable schools would be to the detriment of all schools and those children who attend unsustainable schools now and in the future. Unsustainable schools cannot be allowed to continue to be a drain on the education system.

"The legal wrangle around how Department policy defines an unsustainable school needs to be settled quickly, and I hope the Appeal court rules in Clintyclay's favour.

Commenting on the proposal for Clinticlay to become an Integrated School Ms Gildernew said:

"The issue of Integrated Education and where it is provided in the area also needs to be resolved.

"I am disappointed that the Council for Integrated Education has not acted to carry out a strategic review in the area, to consider how integrated education can be advanced as called for by the Minister last October.

"The Integrated sector has an opportunity to prove to one and all that firstly there is a demand for additional integrated places and where the ideal location for such a school would be."

Concluding Ms Gildernew said:

"The Minister has his job to do, the Courts will rule on the legality of each argument and the Integrated Education Sector must carry out the strategic review called for by the Minister.

"Then and only then will we have certainty around future education provision in the area.

"My job is to support Clintyclay and I will continue to do so." Ends