Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils applied for places in Scrabo High School, Newtownards for the academic year 1997–98; how many of these were new applicants; how many were accepted; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Worthington
A total of six pupils applied as new entrants for places in Scrabo High School in the 1997–98 academic year. All the applicants would have been accepted if the school had remained in operation.
I have recently approved a proposal by the South Eastern Education and Library Board to close Scrabo High School. This decision was taken after very careful consideration of all relevant information, including the school's existing and projected enrolments, the enrolment capacities of neighbouring schools, and financial, community and educational factors. Account was taken also of the various representations which were made to the Department of Education during the statutory objection period. I concluded that the school was financially and educationally unviable and that closure was in the long-term interest of the children concerned.