National numeracy champ Carnalbanagh says school closure proposal doesn’t add up

A small primary school in the Glens of Antrim faced with the threat of closure next year has won a national numeracy challenge.

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 7:05 pm
Carnalbanagh Primary School (image by Google).

Senior pupils at Carnalbanagh Primary School, Glenarm, came up trumps in the online Sumdog Competition.

The school, which has a current enrolment of 25 children, emerged victorious in the event which attracted almost 6,000 entries across the UK.

Principal Alison Killough said: “We are particularly proud of this achievement given the nature of our competitors. It became obvious from the leader board that among the leading schools were many large private, prep and top boarding schools. The average class size in most of these schools is around 25, similar to our total enrolment.

Grace and Finlay Hunter, top of leader boards in both classes.

“Everyone is over the moon that a school our size has fended off competitors from all corners of the UK.”

Carnalbanagh’s infant pupils also managed a respectable 53rd place, the head teacher pointed out.

Established in 1897, the school prides itself on having provided high quality education for almost 200 years. In this time it has seen two World Wars,the Troubles and now, of course, the coronavirus pandemic.

The principal added: “Just footsteps away from the church, it is a school with strong links to the local farming community. Pupils benefit from a child-centred education, which is enhanced by the school’s countryside setting, providing regular outdoor learning.

Sophie and Nicole Morrow enjoyed the event.

“Despite this and the school’s recent achievement, the school is currently proposed for closure in summer 2021. This comes as a significant blow, as the school has been a constant champion of community values in past and recent times.

“The school has proved an epicentre for numerous local events and community activities from car washes to last year’s 5K run which have brought all sections of the community together for time together in fun and friendship. Strong community opposition has been voiced and it is hoped that Northern Ireland Education Minister Mr Peter Weir rules in favour of keeping the school open.

“As we approach the school’s 200th anniversary, it would be a shame to see such rich history lost in light of contemporary austerity measures as opposed to evaluating the quality and nature of educational deliverance.”


Angelina Oravcova putting her knowledge to the test.

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Charlie Watt was among the Carnalbanagh participants.
Harry Watt took the Sumdog challenge.
Josh Hall taking a break from the numeracy competition.
Romaine Killough happy with the outcome in Sumdog.
Evie and Isaac Cooke in the Carnalbanagh team.
Thumbs up for the numeracy challenge from Ryan and Jessica Hastings.
Katie Ross part of the Carnalbanagh team celebrating success.