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07 Jul 2022

Derry primary faces closure as staff, pupils and community rally together to save school

"The Education Authority is telling the 44 children that are already enrolled in Ballougry Primary School that they are not enough"

Photo: www.ballougry.com

Mother of two pupils, Elaine Ry, says, "I moved my children to Ballougry Primary and it was the best decision I ever made for my children"

Ballougry Primary School, a rural and integrated primary school on Mullenan Road, Derry, is facing imminent closure as a result of a recent decision by the Education Authority.

Parents, staff and the local community have rallied together and seek the public's support to save the beloved school. 

Mother of two pupils at the school, Elaine Ry, says the parents and children of the close-knit school are devastated at the possible closure.

"The Education Authority is saying that our school is not sustainable," Elaine explains. 

"For us to have sustainability we need to increase our numbers, which I understand. But, I know the numbers will continue to increase just like they have for the last three years.

"However, the Education Authority is also telling the 44 children that are already enrolled in Ballougry Primary School that they are not enough; that their education is not as important as that of a bigger school.

"That they are insufficient and before they have a chance to stay in their school, which they love, they need to increase the enrolment numbers.

"Surely this is not something that children should have to worry about in 2022. In my opinion, if the Education Authority goes ahead with the decision to close Ballougry School, this will be detrimental to every child that is enrolled and to their mental health. 

"Three more children enrolling to P1 in September will give us a full Primary 1 class and there are places available for other years as well. 

"I moved my children to Ballougry Primary and it was the best decision I ever made for my children. Give the school a call and see for yourselves how incredible it really is."

Commenting on the proposed closure, an EA Area Planning Spokesperson said: “The Education Authority is currently undertaking an eight week pre-publication consultation, May 4 2022 - June 29 2022, on a proposal for the discontinuance of Ballougry Primary School with effect from August 31 2023, or as soon as possible thereafter.   

"The pre-publication consultation commenced on May 4 2022 with the publication of a suite of documents outlining the background and rationale for the proposal, which are available on the Education Authority’s web site:   https://www.eani.org. uk/school-management/area- planning/pre-publication- consultations/ballougry- primary-school. 

"Responses to the pre-publication consultation can be made by email to areaplanning3@eani.org.uk.   

"Written responses can also be sent to: Education Authority, Education Directorate, Area Planning, 17 Lough Road, Antrim, BT41 4DH.  All responses need to be received by Wednesday June 29 2022 before a decision is made on the publication of the proposal.”

The response link to the Education Authority can also be found here: https://forms.office. com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx? id=llBpSmv1qkKriLaXlL- gxMdfMkBHpw1DnoF06FKoXBFUMFBaM 1kzTkNWRjBGQkw3RlhMRDJJT0g5Ny4 u
 
The petition against the closure can be found here: https://www.change.org/ p/save-ballougry-p-s 

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