‘Strategic plan of running down’ Ballymoney NRC campus - claim

EDUCATION chiefs are operating a “strategic plan of running down” the Ballymoney campus of the Northern Regional College, a source has told the Times.

Speaking out about the grave concerns of staff and students, this newspaper was told that Ballymoney’s Training for Success courses are closing - despite Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry’s recent assurance that no decision had been made about the next move for the site.

The source, who did not want to be named, told the Times that Ballymoney’s carpentry course has already been moved to the NRC campus in Coleraine.

“That means there will only be 10 or 15 courses running in the Ballymoney campus,” said the source.

“The writing is on the wall for Ballymoney.

“These courses are ones where there are no entry qualifications needed so if you leave school at 16 with no GCSEs and want to take on a course in bricklaying, joinery, paintwork or plastering, you will have to go to Ballymena or Coleraine.

“There is a strategic plan of running the place down and moving out of Ballymoney without saying it in public.”

The source also claimed that the removal of the courses would result in teaching staff redundancies.

“There will definitely be redundancies - obviously one in brickwork as the course is moving away to Ballymena but also possibly three others.”

The Ballymoney and Moyle Times spoke to MLA Mervyn Storey who has been pressing Minister Farry for a decision on the Coleraine Road site.

“This is indeed news that does raise serious concerns,” said Mr Storey.

“I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister to discuss these matters.”