MLA’s ‘shock beyond belief’ at EA’s action plan

St. Patricks College, Dungiven. Photo: Conor Lavery
St. Patricks College, Dungiven. Photo: Conor Lavery

SDLP MLA John Dallat has expressed “shock beyond belief” after hearing St. Patrick’s College, Dungiven, features in an action plan he claims creates “uncertainty among parents on the future of the school.”

The East Derry MLA was speaking after publication of the Education Authority’s ‘Providing Pathways Strategic Area Plan for School Provision 2017-2020,’ which revealed more than 30 schools across the north could close or merge, subject to consultation. He said he’s written to the CCMS “asking for a copy of the criteria and assessment, as well as the scoring mechanism which led to St Patrick’s College being included in this so-called action plan.”

“I’m keen to be assured this decision is both fair, reasonable and honourable and in the best interests of the students and teachers of this college, which delivers education to a wide spectrum of children and rates well above the average for similar schools in the North,” said Mr. Dallat. “Indeed, the GCSE examination results are outstanding, and I question how this could be improved upon without doing serious damage to St Patrick’s College. Unfortunately, consultations have become a byword for decisions already in the planning but put through a process to give a level of respectability and democracy to them. I need to be reassured this is not the case, and any proposals for the future will ensure that St Patrick’s College is centre-stage in the future planning of post-primary education in the Dungiven area.”