Alliance meets SEELB to discuss impact of Commissioners

Alliance Deputy Leader and East Belfast MLA Naomi Long is leading a party delegation to meet with the Chief Executive of the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) on Thursday to discuss how the introduction of Commissioners will impact on the ability of parents, teachers and elected representatives to influence decisions to be taken by the Board and also to lobby in support of keeping Lisnasharragh High School open.

Cllr. Naomi Long, who will be accompanied by Party Vice Chair Cllr. Michael Long said, “Following the decision of the Education Minister to remove democratically accountable politicians from the Board and replace them with Commissioners, Alliance will be keen to learn how the Board intends to consult with parents, pupils, teachers, unions and elected representatives about future decisions to be taken, including the controversial issues of potential school and library closures as well as cuts to special needs budgets and the number of classroom assistants.

She added, “We will be making it clear that it is vital that the Commissioners have the opportunity to hear from people on the ground, who know what impact these cuts will actually have and hope to receive assurances that there will be a real consultation process.

Cllr. Michael Long added, “We will also be raising a number of specific concerns and in particular expressing our position that the proposed closure of Lisnasharragh High School should not go ahead. The school provides a vital service to the local community and has an excellent record regarding teaching those with special needs and who have experienced bullying elsewhere.

“We will also highlight the fact that a special case for retaining the school should be made given that the school has the highest number of pupils on free school meals in East Belfast, a sign that it caters for some of the most deprived children, who surely deserve better than to have their school threatened with closure.”


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