Plan highlights shortage of places at Catholic primary schools

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The oversubscription problem within Catholic maintained primary schools in the Banbridge area has been highlighted in the Education Authority’s latest Annual Action Plan.

The organisation’s 2018/19 document sets out a number of key issues for local schools, and actions to be taken forward between April this year and next March.

The plan also details issues and actions carried forward from last year’s plan.

For the primary sector in the “Mid-Armagh and Banbridge” area, it records the key issue as: “Ensure school places are located as required for Catholic maintained provision.”

The document states that the “managing authority is to consult on options to deal with oversubscription for Catholic maintained education in the area by March 2019.”

In May last year the principal of St Mary’s Primary School, Banbridge made a public plea to the Department of Education to give him a third P1 class in order to help alleviate the oversubscription problem in the area.

Mr Des O’Hagan stressed that his school, and other local Catholic primary schools, are “significantly oversubscribed”. (Read the full story here)

Regarding the post-primary sector in the “Newry/Banbridge area”, the 2018/19 plan says the key issue is: “Address school provision where sustainability is an issue and ensure school places are located as required.”

The Education Authority has tasked school managing authorities and trustees with “developing options for future post-primary provision in the Newry/Banbridge area by March 2019.”

Meanwhile, the plan also highlights the need to establish “learning support and autism specific provision” at Dromara Primary School.

It says the managing authority is to “consult on options for the establishment of Autism Spectrum Disorder Centres for Children at Key Stage 1 and General LSC for children at Key Stage 2 by March 2019.”