“local circumstances need to be considered in determining appropriate action..”

With the Northern Ireland Assembly due to debate a motion on rural school closures in the absence of a Sustainable Schools policy the NI Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane has apparently decided to publish the final draft of that policy. Adds Policy document available here. [direct link to pdf file here]

The new policy criteria includes the following:
Ideally a primary school should have at least seven classrooms (one for each year group).
The minimum (“not optimal”) enrolment for newly established schools or existing schools should be 140 in urban areas and 105 in rural areas.
The minimum enrolment for newly established post-primary schools or existing post-primary schools should be 500 pupils for an 11-16 school, i.e. an annual average intake of 100 per year.
The school’s annual finances should indicate that it can live within its delegated budget.
There should be a home to school transport travel times of less than 30 minutes for primary pupils and 45 minutes for post-primary pupils.