Minister’s ‘overriding consideration’ is for wellbeing of Anamar pupils: Fearon says

October 12, 2015

Sinn Fein MLA, Megan Fearon, has revealed that she has received written confirmation from Education Minister John O’Dowd, assuring her of his primary concern that pupils of Anamar Primary School will “have access to a high quality education”.

The Minister was responding as the south Armagh Assembly Member requested an update on the future facing the 30-odd pupils of the rural school, which is expected to close at the end of this academic year.

In his reply the Minister outlined the process taking place and said his “overriding consideration” was the wellbeing of the pupils, Ms Fearon said.

“I have been advised that the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, as the managing authority for Anamar Primary School, have requested the Education Authority (EA) to publish a Development Proposal (DP) proposing the closure of Anamar Primary School,” the Minister wrote.

“The EA is currently consulting with those local schools which may be affected by the proposal.  Following this consultation the EA will then publish the DP, which will initiate a statutory two-month objection period for any comments and/or objections to be submitted to the Department.  Any school which is subject to a DP will be assessed on the basis of its own particular circumstances against the six criteria in the Sustainable Schools Policy.

“I will consider all the information and comments pertinent to the proposal prior to making a decision on the proposed change.  Each DP is assessed on its own merits and my overriding consideration in each proposal is to ensure that pupils have access to a high quality education.”

The final decision on the future of Anamar PS is expected to be made by Minister O’Dowd in the coming months.