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St Bernadette’s and St Aidan’s will come together as one from start of next year

Local schools set to merge

By Francesca Ryan

Two West Belfast primary schools are set to amalgamate. St Aidan’s and St Bernadette’s, in the Upper Springfield, will merge from the beginning of the next school year. Education Minister John O’Dowd this week approved the proposal to amalgamate the two schools with effect from September 1, 2012, or as soon as is practical thereafter. The new single co-educational school will be located on the current site of St Aidan’s at the top of the Whiterock Road.

“The amalgamation has been brought forward in the context of the Sustainable Schools Policy taking account of the local area context,” said Minister O’Dowd. “This proposal is considered to be the best solution for securing high-quality education now and into the future.

“Pupil numbers at the schools were declining, but there is clear need for a maintained primary school in the area. The amalgamation will meet parental demand and ensure a broad, balanced curriculum in a viable and sustainable school.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish the staff and pupils every success in the future.”

A spokesman for the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools welcomed the news.



“After several years’ consultation with parents, staff and governors at a local level, CCMS welcomes the Minister for Education’s approval for the amalgamation of St Aidan’s Christian Brothers Primary School and St Bernadette’s Girls’ PS,” he said.

“This amalgamation will present the opportunity to establish a co-educational primary school for the children of the parish of Corpus Christi.

“This new school will build on the traditions and high standard of education which have characterised both schools over the decades.

“CCMS looks forward to working closely with the Trustees of both schools and with all stakeholders at a local level to ensure the success of this amalgamation.”

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