Too few places at primary school in Ahoghill claim parents

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Editorial Image

The village of Ahoghill is facing up to a serious shortfall in available places for local children at Fourtowns Primary School.

The Times understands that around 15 children who had sought places at the popular school were left bitterly disappointed.

Parent Victoria Steele feels that the entire village has been let down by government and education authorities.

She said: “People have been making the education authorities aware of this potential problem for some time but basically we’ve now arrived at the stage where no less than 15 local children have been unable to get a place. That is scandalous.

“Every one of those parents appreciates that a certain number can only be placed and that the school must follow the established criteria guidelines but it is hard to take when it is your child who loses out,” she said.

Ald Stewart McDonald said the Education Minister needs to address the situation.

He said: “Fourtowns Primary School is thriving because of the quality of teaching and the leadership within the school. This is leaving many parents who live in the immediate area being told their children cannot go to their nearest school. Fourtowns PS needs additional accommodation to cater for this demand Jim Allister MLA has requested that the Education Minister meets with the school to see first-hand their plight I will do my part to make the case for Fourtowns PS.”

Victoria said that parents would be anxious to see such a meeting take place.

She added: “The response received from that department was that the school has followed their critera and there was nothing more they can do.

“Locals want to know why a new school was built that was not big enough to hold more pupils? It now holds the same number as it did when it was reliant on mobile classrooms - surely someone could have seen that more accommodation would be needed in a growing village like Ahoghill? she asked.

Ald. McDonald said he appreciated the disappointment and frustration which some parents had experienced but said that the school authorities had followed the criteria guidelines set down by the department.

“The main issue for the future is that the village is growing with a young population and the demand for places is only going to increase,” he added.