Judith Cochrane MLA said: “While there is an undeniable need for improvement in academic performance, there also needs to be a proper plan for post-primary education services in East Belfast, so that decisions are made on a constituency-wide basis, and recognise the social and physical connectivity between communities and schools.
“Schools are inextricably linked to communities, and have provided many vital services to their surrounding areas; it is important that this is not forgotten or side-lined. In recent weeks Dundonald has shown its strong links with the community through its Community Fun Day and indeed I recently used the school premises to host a local neighbourhood watch meeting.
“We undoubtedly need to raise the level of basic skills held by our population by ensuring all school leavers, college leavers and graduates are competent in the three essential skills of literacy, numeracy and information and communications technology (ICT). I am meeting with the Principal of Dundonald High School again to reiterate these points and also to assist in the planning for the Minister’s visit, as I know the school management team are keen to work with the Department to make improvements and secure the future of the school.
“I would call on the Minister for Education, in conjunction with the Education and Library Boards, to be imaginative in terms of proposals for the future of the two schools, and to take the needs of the schools and pupils into account. Decisions must also take on board the aspiration of many parents to access integrated education which currently represents only 7% of provision.”