||Local Councillors meet the Board
of Governors and staff of Hilden Integrated Primary
LISBURN Councillors have met with the
Principal and Board of Governors at Hilden Integrated Primary
School and offered their total backing to the campaign to save
A DUP delegation including MP Jeffrey
Donaldson, MLA Edwin Poots, Alderman Paul Porter and Councillor
Paul Givan outlined the steps the party have taken and what
further efforts they will make to fight for the retention of the
Speaking afterwards, Mr Donaldson said: "We
recognise a special case here for Hilden Integrated Primary
School, not least because of the changing demographics of the
"The recent sale of Hilden Mill for
development would see many new homes built in the area and there
will be a greater number of children living in the immediate
vicinity of the school which will help it sustain its numbers.
"We are happy to support the case for
retaining this school because it has strong links with the local
community and there is no alternative primary school available
within the integrated education sector in Lisburn itself."
Mr Poots said that whilst rationalisation
within education is taking place with falling enrolments across
all sectors, knee jerk reactions should not be made and called
upon the Northern Ireland Council for Integration to give Hilden
Integrated their lull backing. Councillor
Givan said he would be giving his support to the school at the
Education Board and that along with his party colleagues Allan
Ewart and William Leathem will be voting to keep the school
"I know that Jeffrey Donaldson and Edwin
Poots have already met with Irene Knox, the Chief Executive of
the SEELB, and following the meeting they believe that there is
a real prospect that the school can be retained," said Mr Givan.
"The DUP Members on the Education Board will
be advocating that the school should be kept open and I assured
the Principal and Board of Governors of our commitment to
maintaining the school."
As part of the campaign to Save Hilden
Integrated Primary Mr Porter has tabled a motion for
the June Council meeting, calling on the council to recognise
the "vital role" Hilden Integrated plays in the development of
He will also ask the council to support the
campaign to save Hilden from closure.
Mr Porter said: "It is important that a clear
and unequivocal message is sent out from all the parties on the
Council that we are united in supporting the school" he said.
"From the outset I have made it clear that
the school should be retained and I have tabled
this motion to allow all the parties to
demonstrate their commitment to the school. "I believe that we
can get consensus on the Council and a clear message can be sent
out that the school should be kept open."
Following the meeting with the councillors,
Chairman of Hilden's Board of Governors, Mr Terry Conway, said:
"We are delighted to have the unequivocal support for the
retention of the school and we are greatly encouraged that we
now have cross party support for the retention of the school.
"We are sure that the assurances we have
received will have a major impact in securing the future of the
Mr Conway added: "We believe the SEELB
officers now recognise the special significance of the school to
the Lisburn community and we hope they will take the appropriate
action to retain the school."