Sadness at school closure

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A local school principal has expressed his sadness at the closure of a primary school he has been associated with for some years.

Mr. Brian McCaughan, a respected teacher who formerly held the position of principal at St. Mary’s on Rathlin Island, admitted the decision to close Braid Primary School just outside Broughshane had not come as a surprise.

He said he had known about it for sometime, but it was still a sad occasion.

Braid, said Mr. McCaughan, had a deep sense of community spirit where an opportunity was given to people in th eparish to come together and mix socially.

Only ten families sent their children to the school, but an active Parent Teacher Association worked tirelessly to provide funds and helped raise more than £3000 a year to support ongoing activities.

Mr. McCaughan paid tribute to the wider non-Catholic community in the Broughshane area who had given wholehearted support over the last few difficult years.

Just 16 children attended Braid and they will now be placed in other schools after consultation with parents. In total, six members of staff including three teachers, a secretary, caretaker and classroom assistant, will feel the effects of the decision by the Catholic Council for Maintained Schools (CCMS) to close the school.

The decision has been formally published by the North-Eastern Education and Library Board.

Only one Catholic child was baptised in the parish in the last four years and the budget deficit was increasong so fast that their projected allocation for next year would not have met the current shortfall.

CCMS said that despite the high quality of teaching provided, the low pupil numbefs made delivery of the revised curriculum extremely challenging and that closure was the most appropriate option.