East Londonderry DUP Assembly member, George Robinson, has expressed his disappointment that Bellarena school is too close.
“In the last year I, and my DUP Council colleagues, met with the parents and staff of the school to listen to their concerns with regard to a proposal to close Bellarena. What struck me was the deep sense of commitment to the school and it was as central part of the local community. There is no question that the school was seen as vitally important to the parents and children so the news it is too close will have an immense impact on the local families.
Such was my concern after meeting the parents and staff, that I met directly with the Permanent Secretary for Education and with the Education Authority and expressed my belief that the school should be retained due to the central role it plays in the local area. I fully appreciate that funding is limited in the Education budget, but it is deeply disappointing that we see schools like Bellarena are closed and a much appreciated community facility disappears.
There was a consultation about a proposed closure last year and I responded ensuring it was very clear how important the school is to the community. My thoughts are with the staff who are concerned about their employment and I will work to ensure their futures are not overlooked”.
Mr Robinsons party colleague, Cllr Aaron Callan added “It is deeply saddening that the Department of Education has taken the decision to close Bellarena Primary School. This wasn’t just a school for a small rural area, but, it is a vital community resource that has provided much for several generations in the Magilligan area. This is a hammer blow to a rural area struggling to keep its community centred in its locality. Council recently invested significant funds for the Magilligan Community Centre because we recognise the need to support rural communities, sadly, the Department of Education does not”.