11-year-old girl highlights serious lack of school places in County Down

CREDIT: This story was originally seen on Belfast Telegraph Digital

Hannah Bole, an 11-year-old girl from County Down, sent an emotional letter to the Department of Education which highlighted the problem of the region’s lack of school places

The lack of school places in County Down, Belfast has led to a young girl directing an open letter to education chiefs in Northern Ireland, stating: “I am not just a name on a list, I am human and I have feelings too.”

According to Belfast Telegraph Digital, 11-year-old Hannah Bole felt the need to speak up when she was one of 313 children in the area left without a school placement for September – something which caused significant outcry.

Despite pressure from parents, the Department for Education was only able to make 59 more places available – 40 at Bangor Academy and 19 at Strangford Integrated College.

While Bole has since been offered a place at two different schools, they are not among her list of five choices and, therefore, she chose to write to the Department for Education.

The original story published her letter. Bole said to officials, “The emotions I felt on Saturday were unbearable, bearing in mind I am only 11 and worked hard for my AQE despite being dyslexic.

“You offered me two schools Moville and St Columba’s but if liked those schools I would have put them on my list. May I add that I had five schools down on my list.

“To put any 11-year-old through this is awful – would you put your child through this?

“I am not just a name on a page and I will stay strong for as long as I have to.

“Just think of how many children’s lives you’ve messed with.”

The story continues to highlight how schools are increasingly unable to cope with the volume of students needing places within them. Many schools are doing their best to take the matter into their own hands – such as Thomas Telford School, which is attempting to expand so that it can take on over 100 additional students per year – but the pace is by no means quick enough.

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