Stephen Farry stated:
“This is a most frustrating decision from the Minister. It simply rehashes the reasons that were used to reject transformation to integrated status before.
“The integrated primary sector is flourishing within North Down. Bangor Central is perhaps the most successful integrated primary in Northern Ireland. Huge numbers of parents are expressing a desire for the option of integrated education. This school would not affect existing schools but would rather tap in that growing demand.
“In particular, it is worth noting that over 1600 new housing units are planned to be built within a mile radius of this school within the next few years. An integrated school would be best placed to capitalise on these new residents, many of whom would be families with young children. Furthermore, it is worth noting that there is no integrated primary school in Newtownards.
“While the school may not be sustainable at its current level of enrolment, it did deserve the opportunity to demonstrate its viability as an integrated primary.”