I wish to clarify that the report referred to by the Deputy does not make recommendations regarding the configuration of the schools in question. The report outlines opinions expressed at a series of meetings and also identifies issues for consideration by the schools' patron body. I met with local representatives and parents' representatives from the area concerned earlier this year to hear their views in relation to their suggestion that the schools might be configured on a junior school/senior school basis as opposed to the planned two fully vertical post-primary schools.
I fully considered the views presented to me at the meeting and I also examined all of the factors relevant to the matter. I am confident that the schools can operate successfully as two vertical schools. I consider this to be the optimum configuration for the two schools concerned and indeed the best provision that can be made for the pupils in the area in question.
The existing school in the area, under the patronage of the local Education and Training Board, is very highly regarded locally. The intention of the Education and Training Board is that the new community college would replicate and achieve the high standards and success attained in the existing school. The synergies generated by the new campus environment should be a significant benefit to both schools towards building on the success of the existing school and should assist them both in attaining high standards. The management and governance structures for the Education Campus that have been developed by the Education and Training Board, seek to ensure that the necessary appropriate relationships and close co-operation will exist between the two schools at all levels, from the Principals and the Boards of Management through to the pupils and the staff.