Only four respond online to school merger proposals

THE Education Board has revealed that there were only four online responses to proposals to overhaul the education system in Newtownabbey.

Earlier this year the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) launched a consultation process seeking people’s views on the education structures in the borough.

The proposals put out to consultation centred on Glengormley High School, Monkstown Community School and Newtownabbey Community High School and a possible amalgamation of the three institutions along with Rosstulla School.

This week the board revealed it had received over 24,000 responses to its post-primary plans which covered the entire north eastern area taking in areas such as Larne, Ballymena, Coleraine and Newtownabbey.

A spokeswoman for the NEELB said that while the written submissions could not be broken down into specific areas she did reveal that there had been only four responses made through the online process.

She said: “A staggering 24,109 responses to the North Eastern Education and Library Board’s Post Primary Area Plan consultation, which ran from July 5 to October 26, have been received by the Board. This included online and paper responses from members of the public and a range of interested groups and bodies.

“The consultation document, ‘Draft Strategic Area Plans’, provided plans for post primary provision in the north eastern board’s area, covering Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Larne, Magherafelt, Moyle and Newtownabbey.

“The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank those who responded to the consultation document, but at this stage of the process the Board cannot confirm the exact number of responses in relation to the Newtownabbey area plan. The board is reviewing the submissions and considering the comments and views as it prepares its area plan which will be forwarded to the Minister of Education by December 7.”

Information on the Newtownabbey plan should be published soon after the December 7 submission to the minister. Any proposals which require significant change to education provision will be subject to statutory consultation during the implementation period.