Northern Ireland

De La Salle College: School trustees appeal to west Belfast parishioners for calm

De La Salle
Image caption De La Salle College has about 1,100 pupils

The trustees of De La Salle College in west Belfast have called for calm as efforts continue to resolve "a range of issues" at the school.

In a statement to be sent to parishioners, they appealed for all involved in disputes at the school to work collaboratively.

The trustees own the school on behalf of the Catholic Church.

Their statement was issued by Fr Timothy Bartlett from the Diocese of Down and Connor.

There have been ongoing industrial problems at the post-primary school, which has about 1,100 pupils, over the past few months.

About a third of the 70-strong teaching staff at the school were absent for a number of days before the Easter holiday.

In an unusual move, an associate principal is to begin work at De La Salle on Monday which is the first day of the summer term.

Imelda Jordan is a former principal of St Colm's High School, Twinbrook, and will work alongside the current principal, Claire White.

The trustees said that she had been appointed to ensure "maximum stability" in the school while pupils prepare for exams.

"She will support and advise the leadership and management of the college, including the governors, on the day-to-day operation of the school and in addressing any issues giving rise to concern," the statement issued by Fr Bartlett said.

"On behalf of the diocesan trustees, I encourage everyone associated with the school to work collaboratively to ensure a stable and supportive teaching and learning environment, both within and around the school, as young people prepare for their examinations."

"This includes dealing with any recently publicised issues regarding the school in a calm, constructive manner that does not impinge on the operation of the school or distract pupils, families, staff and management."

Protests

A group representing parents of some pupils has held a number of demonstrations outside the school in recent weeks.

The Concerned Parents Committee of De La Salle has called for the principal, vice-principal and board of governors to be stood down.

They also called for a "thorough independent and transparent investigation" of events at the school.

They plan to hold further meetings for parents and a public rally to highlight their "concerns associated with the running of this school and direct impact on the education and well being of the pupils."

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