Closure of Ballougry Primary School postponed with school allowed to continue next year
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The postponement comes after the Education Authority told the Department it would ‘not be in a position to implement the discontinuance of the school in this academic year’.
The proposal to close the school which is situated in Derry’s southern hinterland near the border at Killea attracted widespread opposition from the school community.
A Department of Education spokesperson said: “Development Proposal (DP) 691 proposing that ‘Ballougry Primary School will discontinue with effect from August 31, 2023, or as soon as possible there after’ was published on November 8, 2022. The public consultation period (where anyone can express a view on the proposal) was extended to January 23 2023.
“The proposal attracted significant correspondence, during the public consultation period, and DE officials are currently assessing this alongside all other pertinent information and evidence in order to provide the decision maker with objective advice to enable them to take a decision."
In the interim the decision has been taken for the school to continue providing education next year.
“The EA has liaised with the Department of Education and the Principal of the school to advise that it would not be in a position to implement the discontinuance of the school in this academic year. Therefore, Ballougry Primary School will operate for the 2023/24 academic year.
“The evidence and advice will be presented to the decision maker (DE Permanent Secretary or DE Minister) in due course.
“The assessment of any DP is a complex process and requires careful consideration of all evidence to ensure decisions are taken in the best interests of all learners.
“The EA will be notified of the outcome of the decision and will subsequently contact Ballougry Primary School to discuss next steps,” the Department said.
Reacting to the news the school posted: “Well, we did it. We built a mountain from a little hill and we built it high
“Thank you so so much to everyone who helped us raise our voices along the way. This is only the beginning for Ballougry Primary School.”