DESERTMARTIN Primary School is set to close

DESERTMARTIN Primary School is set to close

DESERTMARTIN Primary School is set to close from 31st August 2021.
The proposal to close the school was approved just last week.
The proposal was made on 19th November 2019.
Desertmartin PS is a Church of Ireland, co-educational primary school in Desertmartin, near Magherafelt.
The approved admissions and enrolment numbers for Desertmartin PS are 7 and 48 respectively.
In 2019/20 the school had an actual enrolement of 11 pupils with no pupils admitted to Year 1.
There were 37 places available that children could apply for through the competiive administrations process.
Enrolment numbers have been falling for the past five years meaning the school's enrolment of 11 in 2019/20 is significantly below the Sustainable Schools Policy minimum recoomended enrolment of 105 for a sustainable rural primary school.
Desertmartin PS was initially featured in the EA's 2018/19 Annual action plan, and was carried foward to the next plan which states "Trustees to develop options for future provision of Desertmartin PS by October 2019"
Initial consultations took place between The EA officers, th Derry Diocesan Board of Education, the school Board of Governors outlining the sustainability challenged facing the school.
To do nothing and keep the school open was discussed, however due to the downturn in enrolment numbers, the school's financial position and the Sustainable Schools Policy, this was not a viable option.
Secondly a jointly managed school was discussed. This would be a grant-aided school, providing shared education with a Christian ethos. This option was looked at due to the ongoing co-operative relationship betweden Desertmartin PS and Knocknagin PS.
However, this was found to be unachievable within a timescale that would contribute to the sustainability of Desertmartin PS and given that Knockagin PS also has sustainability issues, it was unlikely to have addressed the wider area needs.

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