Two Lisburn schools to increase numbers but two others to lose places

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There was mixed news for Lisburn primary schools this week as changes were announced to admission numbers and total enrolments.

Ballymacash Primary School and Harmony Hill will both enjoy an increase in pupil numbers from September 1 2016 while numbers at Largymore and Lisburn Central will decrease, following Education Minister John O’Dowd’s decision.

From September 1 2016, the admission number for Ballymacash Primary School will increase from 54 to 58, and its total enrolment from 350 to 406 pupils.

The admission number at Harmony Hill Primary School will increase from 84 to 87 and its total enrolment will increase from 588 to 609 pupils from the same date.

Also from 1 September 2016, the admission number for Largymore Primary School will decrease from 33 to 28, and its total enrolment from 232 to 196 pupils;

And Lisburn Central Primary School’s admission number will also decrease from 36 to 29 and its total enrolment will decrease from 254 to 203 pupils.

The principal of Ballymacash Primary School, Steven Gray, welcomed the decision in relation to his school. He said: “For the last number of years we have had to apply for temporary variations in numbers due to greater demand in the North Lisburn area. Many have been left disappointed not to get a place in the school.

“It is the end of a long process for us and it is brilliant that we now have the flexibility to get more children in, both in terms of the year one intake and the whole school.”

Harmony Hill Principal Harry Greer said that while the decision allows for a few extra admissions, demand still outstrips available places at his school.

“Across Lisburn there has been significant pressure on school places and this gives us a small measure of flexibility given that the school continues to be oversubscribed,” he said. Commenting on the changes, John O’Dowd said: “The area planning process helps to ensure that we have the right number of schools, of the right size, in the right places.

“These proposals, which aim to establish a network of controlled schools in Lisburn that are operating with 7, 14 or 21 class bases, make sense educationally and are in the best interests of pupils in the area.

“It is clear from the evidence that the demand exists to accommodate the expansion of Ballymacash Primary School and Harmony Hill Primary School.” No-one from either Lisburn Central or Largymore Primary was available for comment.