Northern Ireland

De La Salle: Large crowd attends west Belfast school rally

Demands were made at the rally for an independent investigation into recent problems at the school Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Demands were made at the rally for an independent investigation into recent problems at the school

About 150 people attended a rally outside De La Salle College in west Belfast on Monday evening.

Many were parents of pupils at the Andersonstown school.

Demands were made at the rally for an independent investigation into recent problems there.

The chair of the Concerned Parents of De La Salle group, Gerry Carroll, addressed the crowd, saying there was a "massive issue" in the school.

He also repeated calls for the principal, vice-principals and governors to be stood down.

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Image caption Gerry Carroll addressed the crowd saying there was a "massive issue" in the school

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) has appointed an associate principal to work alongside senior management in the school.

Imelda Jordan, the former head of St Colm's High School in Twinbrook, began work on Monday.

She held a short, informal meeting with some parents demonstrating at the school gate on Monday morning.

Mairead Maguire, who has two children at De La Salle and was at the rally, said Ms Jordan's appointment was welcome.

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Image caption Parents said they had been offered little information about the situation at the school

"She reassured us that she is here primarily for the children," said Ms Maguire.

Other parents said they had been offered little information about the situation at the school.

Peter Magee is a former De La Salle pupil and has sons at the school, including one about to sit his A-level exams.

He said two of his son's A-level classes are taught by substitute teachers.

"I don't want to be out here standing on a night like this, trying to find out what's happening to my son's education, but this is what we've had to do to see what's happening," he said.

The BBC understands that a number of teachers who were off sick returned to the school on Monday, which was the first day of the summer term.

At the rally, there were calls for the school's management to be stood down to allow an independent investigation into events at De La Salle to take place.

A number of political representatives were also in attendance on Monday evening.

Parents representatives are expected to hold further meetings with CCMS and the Episcopal Vicar for Education in the Diocese of Down and Connor, Fr Tim Bartlett, later this week.

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