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Lord Mayor angered by school closure plans

SDLP Councillor Sharon Haughey, the current Lord Mayor of Armagh City and District, has slammed plans to close St Michael’s Primary School in Clady.
Cllr Haughey said: “Like the people of Clady I am angry and saddened that news reports have confirmed that St Michael’s Primary School is earmarked for closure.  This is a very bad recommendation for the rurally isolated area and I will be doing all I can to persuade the Minister of Education John O’Dowd to save Clady School.
“St Michael’s Primary School is an excellent small rural school that has achieved highly over many years, with pupils entering every field of work.  As a past pupil I have many fond memories of Clady School and I know it is the hub of the rural community.  It cannot be allowed to close, and I will be working with local parents, teaching staff, the board of governors, past pupils and local people in the fight to save our school.

“The report produced by SELB, seems to have targeted Clady school because of low numbers, but this school supports a small rural community and is necessary for our rural children.  It should not come down to numbers, the geography and needs of the area must be considered. The school has an excellent delivery record and this news has stunned the entire school community.

“This threat to the school has also come without any indication as to where the children of Clady would be educated, so I believe more thought and certainly consultation is needed.

“There are many exceptional circumstances facing Clady school that must be taken into account including: the poor roads infrastructure, lack of gritting services during winter months, little provision for public transport, majority of households being one car families.  All these issues are key and should highlight the need for this excellent rural school.

“The rural community is being eroded year after year and we must join together to ensure this is not allowed to happen.  A good school should not be closed down.”

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