There will be no single-sex Catholic secondary or grammar schools in County Down under the final proposals for Catholic schools across Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education announced its plans for North Belfast, Glengormley and County Down last week and the changes will result in closures and mergers of existing schools. There are currently 11 single-sex post-primary schools in these areas.
The plans for Catholic schools, outlined by Cardinal Sean Brady at the beginning of March, will create a network of mixed ability schools which will offer more curriculum choice in line with government recommendations.
They are also intended to work around the falling pupil numbers: in south Down, there are 10 post-primary schools and a prediction of 1,500 surplus places within eight years.
A period of consultation with parents and teachers will now take place before plans go ahead, and Cardinal Daly reassured schools that any changes would take place gradually over coming years. mr.