School merger option put forward

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THE possible amalgamation of the two post-primary schools in Larne town has been mooted in a new draft area plan published by the North Eastern Education and Library Board.

In May, the Times reported that a document had been leaked to a Belfast daily newspaper, detailing recommendations on future post-primary provision throughout the board’s area. The merger of Larne Grammar School and Larne High School was believed to be one of the recommendations.

And that was confirmed to be the case when the report - which is an early draft and subject to amendment or rejection by the Minister for Education - was finally published this week.

The 81-page document lays out the board’s proposals for the best way forward for post-primary schools across the North East area, and is entitled ‘Putting Pupils First: Shaping Our Future.’

Two options have been put forward for schools in the Larne area, one of which suggests that the status quo be maintained.

However, the second option recommends: “Larne High School and Larne Grammar School will establish a partnership in which they would work together on a staged progression leading to the creation of one co-operational 11-19 school of 1200 pupils.

“St Killian’s College will continue as a 11-19 co-educational school to serve pupils from the Glens and East Antrim.”

A public consultation period will run until October 26, encouraging board members, staff, pupils and parents to respond to the proposals.

A statement posted on the NEELB website read: “The options and proposals set out in the boards’ plans are a first step towards these aims and objectives. This consultation is not about whether we should take that step, but whether it takes us in the right direction.”