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Unionists table motion objecting to axing of Craigavon Senior High’s Lurgan campus

The motion to be debated tonight seeks ABC Council to come out against a decision which would be "detrimental not only to those children directly affected by such a move, but also to the town of Lurgan and outlying villages as a whole".

Unionist councillors in Upper Bann are asking ABC Council colleagues to back a notice of motion opposing plans to close the Craigavon Senior High School campus in Lurgan.

The motion – due to go before the January monthly meeting tonight (Monday) – has been made in the name of the Ulster Unionist Party’s Louise McKinstry and is being seconded by the DUP’s Alderman Stephen Moutray.

Confirmation came recently that the Craigavon Senior High campus was being closed in favour of a single site based in Portadown.

The news brought a mixed reaction, not just from local political representatives but with parents of pupils attending.

Craigavon Senior High had welcomed the decision announced by the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education, Dr Mark Browne.

The Kitchen Hill campus in Lurgan would move to operate on the Portadown campus site from September 2023, or as soon as possible thereafter.

There had been questions in relation to how the system would work and calls for greater clarity for how it might affect students currently attending Lurgan.

Now the Ulster Unionists have demanded answers to questions and direct opposition to the decision.

The motion calls for the council to recognise that “postprimary education in Lurgan for those in the controlled sector, not selected for a Grammar Education, is not at a standard it should be.

The motion adds: “It further agrees that a decision by the Permanent Secretary to amalgamate the Lurgan Campus of
Craigavon Senior High with the Portadown Campus would be detrimental not only to those children directly affected by such a move, but also to the town of Lurgan and outlying villages as a whole.

“This council reiterates its support, as outlined by our submission to the education authority, for the retention of KS4 provision for nonselected students in Lurgan and undertakes to write to the Education Authority and the Permanent Secretary for Education to express our deep concern at the decision to close the Lurgan Campus and operate a single site campus in Portadown from September 2023.”

The motion will be debated on Monday evening.

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