Monkstown centre closure ‘concerning’

Roy Beggs
Roy Beggs

East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has expressed concern over plans to close the only remaining Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) provision in Monkstown.

This Educational Guidance Centre is the only remaining EOTAS service provided within Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey.

Mr. Beggs is actively involved in trying to address educational under-achievement and has visited the service.

He said: “Closing the local EOTAS provision is a retrograde step. Pupils can fall out of post-primary school for complex reasons and EOTAS can play an important role in assisting them with continuing their education.

“I am concerned with the plans to close the Monkstown EOTAS service and instead relay on a service provided in Ballymena.

“EOTAS plays an important role in assisting alternative education and sometimes the return of pupils to main stream schooling.

“Young people from Carrick, Newtownabbey and parts of Larne will have to travel the considerable additional distance to Ballymena. This in itself could create another barrier to returning young people to main stream education.

“The Newtownabbey campus of the Northern Regional College can often play an important role through EOTAS in enabling skills or qualifications to be achieved. Given the transport links, it makes much more sense for a young person from Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey and parts of Larne to link with the Northern Regional College at Newtownabbey rather than at NRC in Ballymena. I have written to the Education Authority asking that they would reverse this closure plan.”