Court hearing over schools’ merger plans

Court hearing over schools’ merger plans

14 October 2020

JUDGEMENT was reserved yesterday in a High Court challenge to a planned merger of post-primary Catholic schools in the Downpatrick area.

The proposals involve the amalgamation of St Patrick’s Grammar School, De La Salle High School and St Mary’s High School.

Under the plans a new, 1,600 pupil co-educational school could open by September 2021.

But the Board of Governors at St Patrick’s has expressed its opposition to the proposals.

Judicial review proceedings have been brought to examine the project overseen by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS).

In court yesterday Mr Peter Coll QC, appearing for the Board of Governors, argued that his client, and not the Trustees, had responsibility for the management of St Patrick’s.

Mr Coll also raised issues over the consultation process and how other potential options were dealt with.

“It portrays a mindset that was not open, and not prepared to give conscious consideration to what may come in the consultation process,” he said.

Following submissions Madam Justice Quinlivan said she would deliver a judgment as soon as possible.