Education Minister John O’Dowd has approved the development proposal to allow Mallusk Primary to become a controlled integrated school.
The change, which was proposed by the school’s governors, will take effect from September 1 this year.
Commenting on his decision, Mr O’Dowd said: “I take my duty to encourage and facilitate the development of integrated education seriously and I will make decisions to meet the demand for provision whenever a proposal is robust and in the best interests of the children.
“The evidence suggests that following transformation Mallusk Primary School is likely to attract sufficient numbers of pupils to help meet the demand for integrated education in the area.”
He added: “There are two alternative integrated primary schools within four miles. One is oversubscribed and the other has an increasing enrolment trend and a small number of unfilled places at Year 1.
“This approval to change the status of the school to controlled integrated is the start of the transformation process and I trust the school and all those involved will work to ensure the successful transformation of the school and to ensure its viability.”
The principal and governors of Mallusk Primary, and The Grange of Mallusk Steering Group, have welcomed the Minister’s decision.
Governors, staff and parents have been working together since April 2014 in a bid to change the status of the school to meet the needs of the local community.
Speaking on behalf of the governors, acting principal Susanne Kinsella said: “We are delighted with this decision. We can now build on our caring and inclusive ethos and commitment to welcoming pupils from all backgrounds.
“Our school has been at the heart of the local community for almost 80 years, and it will reflect the demographics of the area to have our school transform to integrated status. We believe strongly that we can provide a quality, inclusive education for the children of this area.”
• Read more in next week’s Times (on sale June 24)