Alternative sites are being explored by the Education Authority following the axing of the summer scheme at Lisanally Special School this year.
Last month, Armagh I revealed how the school had written to parents expressing its “disappointment” that its annual summer scheme was to be cancelled due to construction works on the site.
The school said that due to an increase in capacity and requirement for additional provision in recent years, a programme of proposed traffic management works will be undertaken for eight weeks from June, “therefore any planned summer scheme cannot operate safely during this time”.
The news upset children and parents who would normally avail of this vital service in the summer months.
At the time, it appeared that there were no solutions forthcoming and the decision was final.
However, Armagh I contacted the Education Authority to see if alternative options were being explored.
A spokesperson for the Education Authority (EA) said: “Whilst the summer scheme cannot take place on the Lisanally School site, Lisanally School, in partnership with the EA, are continuing the process of exploring alternative options and equality screening is underway in this regard.
“Whilst exploring alternative options, Lisanally School and the EA will be seeking the views of stakeholders, including parents and carers, in relation to this in the near future.
“Lisanally School will continue to keep parents and carers informed in relation to this important issue.”
The issue was also raised by SDLP councillor, Grainne O’Neill at Monday night’s council meeting after she was approached by “several local distressed parents”.
“These children can’t go on to another summer scheme,” she said. “They don’t have the wide variety of options like mainstream children.
“This summer scheme is invaluable to the parents and the children, as many of them only access this and it is usually the only opportunity they have to attend a summer scheme and it’s simply not good enough.”
She asked ABC Council make contact with the chief executive of the Education Authority and ask why, yet again, there had been no consultation with parents and carers regarding the decision to cancel the summer scheme in Lisanally this summer.
Councillor O’Neill asked: “Were alternative provisions or facilities considered by the Education Authority to hold the summer scheme somewhere else and has there been an equality impact assessment completed on this decision?
“And, if not, can you please provide the rationale for not actioning this.”