Small Schools cannot be allowed to close for the sake of a few meters of road – Feeley

Fianna Fail Councillor, John Paul Feeley has called on the Department of Education to use common-sense in the implementation of new requirements to allow two-teachers schools retain their second teacher in 2016. The new regulations state that the schools concerned must have a total enrolment of fifteen and be more than eight kilometres from the next nearest schools.’ ‘This Government have made a sustained attack on small schools in terms of the demand for higher pupil numbers to retain two teachers. This has left many such schools in a very precarious position and rightly the Government have been under pressure to change their position. On the 17th February last the Government announced something of a u-turn in that they reduced the enrolment requirement from 20 to 15 if the schools involved is more than 8km from the next nearest school. I, and the community in Glangevlin were very pleased with this announcement but it now transpires that the Department of Education’s own mapping system has determined that the distance from Curravagh NS to St. Hugh’s NS, Dowra is 7.5kms. The mapping distance can be very strongly contested but even if accepted, no regard is had for the geography of the area, the size of the catchment area and the importance of a community retaining its own identity. The School Principal, Tara McGovern and the Chairperson of the Board of Management, Fr. Charlie O’Gorman have made a formal appeal to the Department of Education to allow the School retain two teachers for the 2015 to 2016 School Year. ‘It is worth noting that Curravagh NS was refurbished in 2010 and that building are of the highest standard. The parents and local community are hugely proud of the School and support the Management and staff in every way. It is at the heart of the community. The catchment area from its farthest reach is 24 kilometres to the school in Blacklion and 18 kilometres to the school in Dowra. Regard must be had to the geography of the area and to the journey which closure would result in for students and parents. Closure would be another serious blow to a area which up to forty years ago had three schools. It would be ridiculous to close this fine school for the sake of a few metres of road and Minister O’Sullivan and her officials must use common sense.’ ENDS Contact: John Paul Feeley (087) 6989304 John Paul Feeley County Councillor Stranamorth Blacklion Co. Cavan Tel. (087) 6989304 Sent from my iPad