15-pupil primary school set to close

SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan at St. Anthony's PS, outside Limavady.
SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan at St. Anthony's PS, outside Limavady.

A 15-pupil school outside Limavady will close at the end of June.

Education Minister, John O’Dowd said St. Anthony’s Primary School, near Aghanloo, will close its gates for the last time at the end of the academic year.

Speaking about his decision, the Minister said: “St Anthony’s Primary School has provided excellent education to children from the local community for many years.

In recent times, however, enrolments have declined to the point where this year there are only 15 pupils at the school.

“Taking all of the evidence into account, including the fact that there are many free places available in maintained primary schools in the locality, I have approved the proposal to close the school at the end of the current academic year.”

SDLP Councillor Gerry Mullan said it would be a sad day when the school closes.

“It’s very sad that St. Anthony’s will close and it will mark the end of an era for rural school life.

“Its teachers and support staff have provided an excellent education and school life for many pupils over the years,” said Colr. Mullan.

“However, the closure appears to have been on the cards for some time, and with enrolment at 15 pupils, closure was inevitable.”

Former pupil, Ryan McLaughlin, has fond memories of the school he attended from 1978 until 1984, and which had between 80-100 pupils at that time.

“Definitely, there is a part of me that will be sad to see the school close,”
he added.