AMID continuing joy at the this year’s launch of sixth-form provision, Dromore High School principal John Wilkinson has said there remains much work to be done in terms of the school’s future development, not least keeping on the pressure for a new home.
With a view to using the nearby Dromore Central Primary School as an interim base for post-16 provision, Mr. Wilkinson stressed the importance of the progress on re-housing the primary school at its long promised Mossvale Road site.
“We must continue to keep pressure on the Department for our newbuild,” he said. “We recognise that due process must be done in terms of a viability audit and area planning. However, it is clear that as the school approaches 900 pupils we need a school building with adequate capacity and modern facilities.
“The school has been realistic in its thinking around this area for many years. We have continuously promoted the idea of using the Central Primary School as a base for Post-16 work.
“This would be an excellent building, allowing the school to further develop post-16 catering for middle band pupils wanting to study a mixture of BTecs and ‘A’ levels, but before this suggestion can be offered the Primary School must receive its long awaited newbuild at Mossvale Road.”
There was also a pledge to hold Stormont Education Minister John O’Dowd his word that successful schools would be allowed to grow.
“The Department allowed us to enrol 50 pupils in our lower sixth and in fact we took in 59 pupils out of 120 who expressed an interest,” said Mr. Wilkinson. “In our first year we are delivering 13 A Levels and 5 BTec out of an offer of 22 subjects in total.
“In terms of general/applied this is in the ratio of 11:7. This is an excellent start and we are well placed to meet the EF Target for 2015.
“As we progress towards the EF targets, which we can and will do, it will be necessary to seek additional total enrolment places.
“Presently DE (Deprtment of Education) have granted us 50 places; this fulfils the minimum 100 places within the sustainable schools policy. However we will hold Minister O’Dowd to his word when he stated that successful schools will be allowed to grow and progress. In his speech he stated, ‘the guidance from my Department will make it clear that these plans should allow for popular oversubscribed schools to grow further, putting pupils first’.”