UUP MLA Robin Swann has challenged the Education Minister to “use common sense and end the madness of pupils being taught in mobile classrooms”.
He did so while expressing his “deep concern” regarding the number of post-primary pupils in Ballymena being taught in mobile classrooms “while a perfectly sound school building lies empty”.
Mr Swann, a former Governor of Ballee Community High, had previously called for the Department of Education and the North-Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) “to find a use for the school before it is allowed to decay”.
He added: “While the closure of Ballee was a blow to many in the area, I am disappointed that there are now 33 mobile classrooms in use across six post-primary schools in the area and this number has grown by 10% since the closure of Ballee. I wonder where the ‘Area Plan’ for the post-primary sector in Ballymena is now, with so many of our children being taught in temporary structures?”
An NEELB spokesperson said: “As part of the £70 million investment programme announced by the Minister of Education on June 24, the Board has welcomed the Minister’s approval to provide new school buildings for Cullybackey College and Dunclug College. In order to facilitate the first phase of the Area Plan, the Board provided high quality accommodation to deliver secure, sustainable and a high standard of education in the Ballymena area in the interim period leading up to the opening of the two new schools”.
“In respect of the Ballee High School site, Board services which were operating prior to the school closing are continuing as usual – ie Youth, Transition Services and Audiology”.