UK Independence Party (UKIP) representative Alan Lewis has called on the SEELB and education department to keep Cumran Primary School’s funding at the same level for the next three years to allow the school to adjust to the dramatic loss in pupils.
Mr Lewis said: “With the 2 Rifles Regiment relocating to Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn, this represents a major loss to local schools and there will be a significant loss of pupils from the local area. Cumran Primary school in Clough is set to loose up to 60 pupils.
“I call on the SEELB and DENI to recognise this is a significant loss to the school. I have written to both departments requesting the schools current funding levels be retained allowing the school to adjust to the sudden loss of pupils.
“The MOD may also have a part to play. I have written to the MOD requesting schools within Down District which will have significant losses due to 2 Rifles redeployment be considered for special MOD funding which could be awarded to assist public funded schools to minimise the effects of redeployment of service personal.
“Unfortunately the decision to relocate 2 Rifles from Ballykinler may see job losses and budget cuts to local schools. What we are seeing is the outworking of the Conservative government’s defence policies.
“Not only are Tory defence cuts compromising the security of the United Kingdom, they are damaging local communities across the country too.”
Mr Lewis added: “The Army has been a friend of the community in Ballykinler and surrounding area, as well as a major contributor to the local economy. I hope the MOD therefore play an active part in minimising loss to local schools on our district.”