Carryduff children fail to get school places again

Carryduff children fail to get school places again

17 May 2017

CARRYDUFF parents have united to lobby for improved Catholic primary provision after dozens of children once again missed out on school places.

Dozens of children have again been turned away from St Joseph’s and St Ita’s primary schools because of soaring demand for maintained school places in the area.

The schools have been forced to reject almost 80 children in the past three years with demand continuing to outstrip supply despite the development of St Ita’s in 2005 by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools to ease the pressure on the nearby St Joseph’s.

Some disappointed parents have now formed the Drumbo and Carryduff Parents’ Association to lobby for a long-term solution to Catholic primary provision in the parish.

They are working with the CCMS and principals to find suitable places within the parish for their children.

One parent, who asked not to be named, spoke of the stress experienced by his family since learning his child had not been granted a place in any of their four school choices.

Despite living in the parish, which is the main criteria for acceptance, he said there were so many applicants that children were selected according to a randomised alphabetic list.

He said principals of both St Ita’s and St Joseph’s and the CCMS had been hugely supportive in a bid to find a solution for his child, but said the recurring annual disappointment for local children and their parents needed to be fully addressed.

“We live in the parish and moved to this area because it is close to Belfast, it has very very good schools, a church and a football club. That is a great motivating factor for many families moving here,” he said.

“It is very frustrating not to get a place and the whole appeal process is very difficult.

“There is, and has been for some time, a clear demand for an extra class in the area. We do not need a stop gap, we need a solution to a recurring problem.

“What appears to happen every year is that parents kick up a fuss and then they accept their fate and the situation dies down for another year. We are now pushing for a properly thought through solution.

“This problem is only going to get worse with increasing housing development. We want forward planning.

“Meetings are underway this week and we are eager to see what comes from that.”

A spokesman for Drumbo and Carryduff Parents’ Association agreed there had been insufficient education provision in the Catholic maintained sector in the Carryduff area for several years. 

“Like all parents, we want our children to be educated in the nearest, most suitable school in the heart of their local community,” he said.

“We have been in touch with the CCMS and the schools in the area to try and find a solution.

“We are hopeful that this issue can be resolved to ensure the best possible outcome for all our children now and in the future.”

A CCMS spokeswoman said the organisation was aware of the pressure on the availability of places for year one in the Carryduff area. 

“CCMS is currently working with the schools concerned in an effort to find a solution to the problem,” she confirmed.

Anyone affected by this issue is asked to contact the new parents’ association at