An online campaign to save a Derry secondary school earmarked for closure is up and running.
Immaculate Conception College (ICC) parents have formed an action group and set up a Facebook page in a bid to persuade the authorities to keep the school open.
Just weeks ago, it emerged that the College - the only Catholic post-primary school in Derry’s Waterside - will close its doors completely by 2015 if recommendations by the Catholic Council for Maintained Schools (CCMS) are put in place.
The Education Minister will have the final say on whether or not the school will close its doors but the CCMS has already proposed that the best option would be a “phased closure” of the Trench Road site beginning in September 2014 with the closure completed by the following September.
Concerned parents are to write to Pope Francis in an effort to save the school, pointing to recent remarks in which he stressed the importance of Catholic education.
One concerned parent told the ‘Journal’ that the school’s closure would sound the death knell for Catholic post primary education in the Waterside.
The parent added: “If the proposal to close ICC does go ahead, all that will be achieved in this city is segregation - with all post-primary Catholic children educated on the Derry side and all other faith post-primary children educated in the Waterside. In this year of City of Culture, where will our shared society be?”
The parent argued that there were two “simple solutions” to save the Trench Road school: firstly, put a cap on pupil intake at schools on the west bank and, secondly, invest money at Immaculate Conception College.
“Why, since the construction of our school in the 1960s, has not a penny been invested in it?” the parent asked.
“Why over the past few years have millions of pounds been spent on brand new Catholic post-primary schools on the Derry side?
“Why are Catholic post-primary children on the Derry side deemed more worthy of new schools than Catholic post-primary children in the Waterside?
“Why are Catholic post-primary schools on the Derry side over-subscribed? Why can’t their numbers be capped and pupil numbers distributed fairly and equally across all Catholic post-primary schools in Derry?”
“Give our children what they deserve - a new school. If the Waterside gets a new Catholic post-primary school, parents will vote with their feet and send their kids to ICC.”
The action group will stage a show of support outside the school today at 4pm.