South Antrim MP Danny Kinahan has welcomed what he described as a ‘sensible decision’ by the Minister for Employment and Learning, John O’Dowd, that Crumlin Controlled Integrated College is to remain open.
Mr Kinahan said,“I believe so strongly in integrated education as a form of educational provision and as a mechanism through which Northern Ireland can move forward as a society.
“I am glad the minister chose to keep integrated provision in Crumlin to serve the obvious demand there and also to keep the provision at the existing school.”
“I have long stood by my support for the school and I am a firm believer in restructuring and rejuvenation rather than replacement.
“It is ultimately tempting to start afresh but often the path to permanent change is from within. I urge parents, pupils and the relevant community and statutory authorities to get behind Crumlin Integrated, to invest time and effort in shaping the school Crumlin needs in the guarantee that their investment will pay dividends.”
Education Minister John O’Dowd said he turned down a development proposal to close the college as well as a development proposal to establish a new grant-maintained integrated college which would have been established to replace the existing school.
The Minister said: “I have carefully considered both proposals put forward to me and I have decided that integrated post-primary provision should remain in Crumlin.
“I understand why the then North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) brought forward the proposal to close the existing school and why Crumlin Supports Integrated Education Steering Group, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), brought forward their proposal to open a new school.
“In turning both down, and allowing Crumlin Integrated College to remain open, I have given the community an opportunity to avail of and support integrated post-primary provision in their area.”
He continued: “There are challenges ahead and I will be writing to the Education Authority and NICIE to ask them to work with it in order to build on improvements made to date and address the issue of low enrolments.”