SOUTH Down SDLP MLA and the party’s spokesperson on Education, Seán Rogers has visited St Patrick’s Primary School in Burrenbridge.
Mr Rogers said: “I met with James Hunt, Principal of St Patrick’s Primary, Burrenreagh, and Siobhan Rice of the Parents Teachers Association following the recently published Primary Area Plan which recommends the closure of this school.
“I learnt of the additional services which this school offers from a breakfast club, phonics club to a homework club. These are services which are greatly used and are an excellent selling point of the school, as it allows parents from the rural area to maintain a good work / family life balance.
“The School also has a technology club, sports club and offers music lessons.
“It forms the backbone of this rural community and if this school were to close it would have devastating consequences for the wider Bryansford and Burrenbridge area.
“It is sitting at an enrolment of 52 pupils which is well below the magical figure of 105 for rural schools. However, I believe that a school’s future should not be based on numbers alone. Surely the contribution that a school like St Patrick’s makes to the community, which is immense, should be given serious consideration.
“The last Department of Education inspection report highlighted the strong community spirit that exists within the ethos of the school and that is evident from walking through the front door of the building.
“We in the SDLP support the retention of St Patrick’s in this area and will continue the fight to ensure that this facility remains for generations to come.”