Sixth Form places at a Ballymena grammar school are to be cut after the reduction plan was given the green light by the Education Minister.
John O’Dowd approved a ‘development proposal’ which was put forward at the school’s request, to decrease the total enrolment at Cambridge House Grammar.
The former North Eastern Education and Library Board published a development proposal to reduce the number of places available at sixth form at the school whilst keeping the admission number unchanged.
Commenting on his decision, Mr O’Dowd said: “The area planning process helps to ensure that we have the right number of schools, of the right size in the right places.
“I will also be asking the Education Authority to address sixth form provision at all schools in the area and bring forward solutions that will ensure sustainable sixth form provision across all schools in the Ballymena area.”
Cambridge House Grammar School Principal, Mrs Lutton, said she welcomed the announcement that overall enrolment numbers at the school will be adjusted at the school’s request and in line with the population’s current demographic.
She said: “As the only controlled grammar school in Ballymena, we are delighted that our request for a reduction in total enrolment has been approved, as it reflects the actual enrolment numbers at the school which have decreased gradually over time as a natural progression following the amalgamation in 2001.
“We will continue to complement other controlled schools in the area; our current admission total of 140 will remain for Year 8 and the numbers currently studying at 6th form will also remain unchanged.
“And we are grateful to receive feedback from the department that should the demographic change in the future, Cambridge House Grammar School will have the potential to grow.”
Cambridge House Grammar’s 2014/15 enrolment totalled 923 pupils (715 in Years 8-12 and 208 in 6th form).
On 5 March 2015 the former North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) published Development Proposal (DP) 303 proposing to decrease the enrolment of Cambridge House Grammar School from 1,030 to 900 with effect from 1 September 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter.
The proposal detailed no change in the school admissions number, with any decrease in enrolments effectively meaning a reduction of the number of available sixth form places from 330 to 200.