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Medical Schools

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 12 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with interested parties regarding the implications of the proposed closure of the Lindsay School in South Belfast and the South and East Belfast Health and Social Services Trust's proposal for the replacement of the Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit and Child and Family Centre. (89761)

While neither Ministers nor the Department of Education have had any direct discussions regarding the proposed closure of Lindsay School, the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) has made the following comment:

"Discussions have been on-going for several months between the SEELB and South & East Belfast Trust regarding appropriate educational provision for children receiving treatment at The Child and Family Centre based at Forster Green. These discussions have also included consideration of proposals from the Trust for a new facility on the site which would make provision for children and young people up to the age of 18 years. The meetings have included representation from the Trust, the Education & Training Inspectorate and the school. The most recent meeting took place on 29 June 2006. Further meetings are planned for August and September.

Discussions are focused on:

interim arrangements for the re-siting of The Lindsay School while building work is underway to create the new facility for child and adolescent mental health services,

possible models for future educational provision to meet the needs of the children and young people who will be treated at the facility.”

As I have indicated previously, any proposal to close the school will require the SEELB to publish a Development Proposal, which initiates a 2-month public consultation period during which comments, including objections, may be submitted to the Department of Education. The Department will give full consideration to all representations made during this 2-month period, before making a decision on any such proposal.