Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Tuesday, 15 May 2012 18:42 UK

Knockmore Primary School consultation

The education minister pledged to conduct a full consultation if an education board went ahead with plans to move special needs children from a County Antrim primary school, on 15 May 2012.

Knockmore Primary School in Lisburn had already survived an attempt to close it, following a campaign by parents, pupils and politicians.

The adjournment debate, proposed by the DUP's Jonathan Craig, centred on reports that South Eastern Education and Library Board now proposed to close some of the school's seven special needs units and disperse the children to schools nearer their homes.

Education Minister John O'Dowd said he had not yet received formal proposals from the board but if he did, he would carry out the usual consultation before making a decision whether to approve the plans.

The minister said he wanted to know if there were concerns about how the board was dealing with the issue.

Mr Craig said the proposals would have a "detrimental impact" on children and their families.

"It is disappointing that in the same academic year when we secured the retention of Knockmore Primary School that we are faced with further bad news from the board and the commissioners," Mr Craig said.

"It doesn't need fixed so why are we tampering with it?"

He said that out of 143 pupils currently enrolled at the school, 62 were designated to a special needs unit.

His party colleague, Paul Givan, said the education board had divided a school which had previously been united.

"The way in which the education board has conducted itself has left a lot to be desired," he said.

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