Northern Ireland

Avoniel Primary School to close, High Court rules

John O'Dowd
Image caption A pupil had taken legal action against Education Minister John O'Dowd

An east Belfast school at the centre of a legal row will close, the High Court has ruled.

A pupil had taken legal action against Education Minister John O'Dowd for approving the closure of Avoniel Primary School.

Lawyers representing the child wanted the High Court to overturn the decision to shut it.

The court said the consultation process and the minister's decision had been valid.

Mr O'Dowd announced in May that he was approving the closure of the school.

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Media captionMr O'Dowd announced in May that he was approving the closure of the school

He said he would be increasing admissions and enrolment at nearby Elmgrove Primary.

At the time he said the proposals were the first phase in plans to reshape primary provision in the controlled sector in east Belfast.

Parents of pupils at Avoniel reacted with anger to the decision, claiming they had been left with little time to find a new school by September.

One child with special educational needs sought a judicial review.

Lawyers representing the pupil, who cannot be identified, had argued the minister's decision should be quashed because they believed a prior consultation process by the Belfast Education and Library Board was not properly or fairly conducted.

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