‘CCMS should act at honest broker’ – Clarke on future of St. Patrick’s Primary School

Newry Times News Posted by
Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Alliance Party Councillor Patrick Clarke has urged the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) to act as an honest broker and work together with the local community and stakeholders in the area to help retain St. Patrick’s Primary School at Burrenreagh outside Castlewellan.

Clarke made his comments following a written response he received from the CCMS about St. Patrick’s Primary School.

Clarke stated, “The written response I received from the Chief Executive of the CCMS leaves me quite concerned as the CCMS did not give me any clarification to my query on the delay of the two new classrooms which have never been installed.

“The CCMS seem also quite happy to advise me about the requirement of the Sustainable School Policy and that St. Patrick’s Primary School does not meet the criteria and faces significant challenges.

“I have to challenge this assertion by the CCMS as there are a number of schools within the SEELB area that also do not meet the same criteria regarding enrollment numbers.

Clarke continued, “Given that St. Patrick’s Primary School meets all the criteria for a sustainable school except enrollment I have to seriously question why then is St. Patrick’s being singled out for possible closure?

“The written response I received from the CCMS seems to leave me suspicious and minded as to their actual intentions and future plans. I hope the CCMS will act as an honest broker and work together with the local community and stakeholders in the area and listen to all options and plans to retain St. Patrick’s Primary School.

“There is a very strong mood and determination to overturn the proposal to close this rural school and I would be urging the CCMS not to be putting any obstacles in front of St. Patrick’s Primary School but rather solutions for its retention and future in the local community.

Clarke added, “As the CCMS seem to be one of the key decision makers regarding the future of St. Patrick’s Primary School I believe that the present campaign underway to save St. Patrick’s Primary School will have to take their  fight directly to the CCMS.”

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