Parents at Sion Mills Primary School voted overwhelmingly in favour of moving to integrated status. (Pic: Declan Roughan).
PARENTS at two rural schools have voted overwhelmingly in favour of beginning the process of transformation to integrated status.
Sion Mills Primary School and Gillygooley Primary School both held the parental ballots necessary to begin the transformation procedure.
All parents were eligible to vote in the ballot, with 69 per cent of Sion Mills PS parents casting a vote. 98.7 per cent voted yes to Integrated status for the school, providing a resounding endorsement for their future plans.
In Gillygooley PS there was 100 per cent turn out and 100 per cent voted in favour of moving to the next stage of the transformation process.
A third school, St Mary’s on Rathlin Island, voted to reject the move towards integration.
Oonagh McNelis, principal of Sion Mills PS said: "Sion Mills Primary School has had a long history of serving all parts of the community and surrounding area since the Herdman family set up a school in the village in 1879.
"Cross community education and inclusivity has been part of our ethos for almost 150 years.
"The natural next step for the school was to seek to formally integrate through the Transformation process.
“In everything we do as a school, we put the children and families first. We’d like to thank the parents for pointing the way forward.
"We know through experience that learning together in an inclusive environment, even from this young age, is what is best for all children.”
Janye Baird, acting principal of Gillygooley PS added: “Gillygooley Primary school are delighted to have unanimous support from all parents for a move to integrated status.
"We have a long tradition of providing a high standard of education to the rural community on the outskirts of Omagh, and we pride ourselves in encouraging our pupils from all communities to respect and learn from each other.
"Everything we do within our school community has the overarching ethos of 'Loving to Learn, Learning to Love' and integrated status is an exciting next step for Gillygooley Primary School."