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Schools

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many schools in Northern Ireland which are currently open he expects to have closed by the end of 2007. (79456)

Proposals to close a school are subject to the publication of a development proposal, which ensures that all interested parties are informed, and have the opportunity to comment, before a decision is made.

The Department has approved the closure of seven primary schools, six of which are due to close in August 2006 and one to close in August 2007. The Department has also approved the closure of one post-primary school to take effect in August 2006.

There are currently four other recently published development proposals each for the closure of a primary school, with three proposed to take effect in August 2006 and one in August 2007, on which decisions have not yet been made. There are also two recently published development proposals for the closure of two post-primary schools in August 2007, on which decisions have not yet been made.

In addition, the Department has previously approved the amalgamations of 12 primary schools into four schools—these are all planned to take effect before the end of 2007, and approved a further proposal to support the amalgamation of two post-primary schools to form one school with effect from September 2006. Two Development proposals each for the amalgamation of two primary schools to form one school have recently been published and currently under consideration.