Northern Ireland

West Belfast grammar and secondary school merger scrapped

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Media captionSome parents opposed the merger between St Mary's grammar and the Christian Brothers secondary

Plans to merge a Catholic grammar and a secondary school in west Belfast have been scrapped because the grammar school is unwilling to phase out academic selection, it is understood.

The proposals for St Mary's grammar and the Christian Brothers secondary on the Glen Road were opposed by some parents.

St Mary's board of governors decided not to go ahead at a meeting on Monday night.

The plan was for St Mary's to absorb pupils from the school across the road,

The process would have been completed within two years with the retention of the name St Mary's.

It is understood the board was unhappy that no other Belfast Catholic grammars had agreed to phase out academic selection.

The first stage would have been to admit 75% of pupils using the GL academic assessment test, and use other criteria for the remaining 25%.

A source at the Christian Brothers secondary said: "Of course we are disappointed that the process has ended as we believe a wonderful opportunity has been lost that would have benefited all the children in this community."

The Edmund Rice Trust, which is the trustee of both schools, has been to the forefront of abolishing academic selection.

A spokesman for the trust said it was disappointed but would continue to work towards that aim.

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