chairman of the Board of Governors at Hilden Primary School has
expressed his 'deep disappointment' at comments made by the
Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education after it was
revealed last week that the South Eastern
Education and Library Board wants to close the school. NICIE's
chief executive Michael Wardlow said that since the school had
transformed to integrated status in 1996 it had 'embraced the
integrated ethos and contributed greatly to its local community
by welcoming children from all religious and cultural
But Mr Terry Conway said this completely ignored
the school's record of providing integrated education for 95
years on its present site. "Many families would challenge Mr
Wardlow's assertion that the NICIE method is the only way of
achieving integrated schooling" he said.
"The Board of Governors at Hilden is aware
that NICIE has been pursuing a strategy to transform Fort Hill
Primary to integrated status.
"This leaves us wondering if that has
encouraged the South Eastern Board to try to close us this
August, despite assurances just last year that it would be three
years before they reviewed the situation.
"Surely when there is already a school
offering integrated education every effort should be made to
support and help it rather than encouraging mother school nearby
"We are now in the position where our parents
who want their children to go to an integrated school are forced
to find places elsewhere yet neither the South Eastern Board nor
NICIE can offer those integrated places in the Lisburn area."