Need for new school at Abercorn highlighted

Carla Lockhart MLA, Mr Derek Baker, Mrs Salters (Principal), and Dr G Byrne (Chairperson of Board of Governors)
Carla Lockhart MLA, Mr Derek Baker, Mrs Salters (Principal), and Dr G Byrne (Chairperson of Board of Governors)

The need for new school premises for Abercorn Primary in Banbridge was highlighted as DUP MLA Carla Lockhart hosted the Permanent Secretary for Education, Mr Derek Baker, in the Upper Bann area.

The focus for the visit was on primary and special educational needs in the area.

As part of the visit Mr Baker visited Donard Special School which caters for children with special educational needs and also Abercorn Primary School which is in need of a new build.

During the visits to the schools Carla Lockhart said it was apparent of the need for continued investment.

The day ended with a meeting with ten primary school principals from Lurgan, Portadown and Banbridge at the Jethro Centre in Lurgan to talk about budgetary constraints and frustrations experienced by parents and schools in the slow process of statementing children with additional needs.

Speaking after the visit Carla Lockhart said: “This was a very useful visit and the feedback from both principals and the Permanent Secretary was positive. It is important that we keep these channels of communication open and the experiences of schools are heard.

“Having visited both Donard and Abercorn Mr Baker is only too well aware of the pressures facing schools and the need for investment in our area. “Teachers are under increasing pressure and we need to ensure they are given all the support required.

“Northern Ireland schools are regularly at the top of national schools tables and we want to ensure this continues.

“I would thank both the Permanent Secretary and the Principals for giving of their time.”