North Down Alliance MLA, Stephen Farry, has contacted the Department of Education and Education Authority to request urgent action to address the unprecedented crisis in the provision of post-primary school places in the Bangor area affecting over 40 families.
He has been contacted by around 20 parents over the past weekend expressing their frustrations and the distress of the children affected.
Stephen Farry said: “I have been inundated with calls and emails from concerned and frustrated parents, and know of many very distressed parents. This is an unprecedented mismatch in terms of the supply and demand of post-primary places, even in the recent history of North Down.
“Across Northern Ireland, there is a considerable over-supply of places and inefficiencies in the education system, compounded by distortions arising from policy. But this has not been the situation in North Down. Here demand regularly exceeds supply.
“Pending wider reform, the immediate priority must be to address this current situation. I have been in touch with Bangor Academy, the school most affected, and have requested that the Department of Education and the Education Authority urgently review this situation and reconsider granting a temporary variance to Bangor Ac
As you are probably already aware, there are many children, potentially over 40, who have not been able to secure a place at Bangor Academy. For many this is the first preference choice from recognised feeder primary schools, and it is a massive injustice that children have not so far been able to avail of a place in a home town as large as Bangor Academy.
“Parents should have a legitimate expectation of receiving a post-primary place in an all-ability school on their own home town especially when it was their first choice. This begs the question what else would parents in that situation have to do to get a place in their closest available school?”