South Belfast needs a new integrated post-primary school, says Bradshaw

Education South Belfast Paula Bradshaw

South Belfast needs to see a new integrated post-primary school, Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has said.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking as she brought an Assembly debate on post-primary education provision in the constituency. She said while the entire education system was complex, those complexities were exacerbated in South Belfast, with a failure to plan ahead or recognise the increasing need for integrated education to match the ethos of the constituency itself.

“Right across South Belfast, there is significant over-subscription for integrated education for all ages, but particularly post-primary,” she said.

“The area has a changing, growing, mixing population which is as diverse as any you will find in Northern Ireland. It needs more integrated provision – the original integrated school, Lagan College, is vastly oversubscribed and there are numerous integrated feeder primary schools in and around the constituency which need improved links into post-primary provision.

“It is evident expansion of existing provision is simply nowhere near adequate to meet demand, particularly in an area where the population itself is increasingly integrated. That failure to plan ahead and recognise the need to match the clearly emerging ethos of the constituency itself, is creating problems which will still be apparent a decade from now.

“A new integrated post-primary school serving ages 11-19, covering South Belfast and Mid Down, should be expedited in its own right to meet this obvious need. We require a much more forward-thinking approach which recognises the benefits of increasing integrated education in an obviously increasingly integrated area.”