It is with utter dismay that I learned the news of the closure of Causeway School at the end of June.
This is a vital piece of our historical education and a valued place of our history. Thousands of school children locally and further afield love their visit to the Causeway School and it is a real shame to take this away from them, it is an excellent way for schoolchildren to learn about history in a fun way, they love the aspect of dressing up in the attire of bygone years and seeing firsthand the practices of how their ancestors were educated. This is a valuable learning experience.
The Causeway School opened originally in 1915 by the MacNaughten family in memory of Lord Edward MacNaughten of Runkerrry. The last pupil left the school in 1962. It was re-opened in the late1980’s by being given in Trust by the MacNaughten family to the North Eastern Education and Library Board.
In October 2008, the Causeway School was awarded £99,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to increase public access to the museum.
The North Eastern Education and Library Board say they cannot continue to run the service due to budget constraints! The NEELB say it costs between £25,000 and £30,000 to run the school, they also have a lease on the building until 2026.
I think that the NEELB could and can do more to redo their figures and save the Causeway School and keep it fit for education purposes. More could be done also by the NEELB to promote the venue and open its doors and take advantage of the thousands of tourists who are visiting the Giant’s Causeway and use the history of the building to its full advantage with it being home to a sculpture of Holywood born artist Rosamund Praeger, the piece depicts a scene from the story of the Children of Lir.
The architect who designed the Causeway School was none other than Clough Williams-Ellis, who also designed the Old Grammar School in Bushmills and other designs of his work can be seen in the conservation village of Cushendun. One of the pupils at the Causeway School was Robert Quigg VC, a local hero who needs more recognition for his bravery at the Battle of the Somme 1916. There is money being wasted on ridiculous projects within Northern Ireland, this is one fabulous educational establishment that should remain open.
Cllr Sandra Hunter
Chairman - Moyle District Council