Cotton Primary School, located on the outskirts of Bangor, was a co-educational primary school for children aged between four and eleven years old. Cotton Primary School opened in 1969 to replace an older building that was on the opposite side of the road. While it was only a two teacher school, at one stage it served up to 40 students from Bangor, Groomsport, Conlig and Donaghadee.
When in use, the school followed the Northern Ireland Curriculum, which included the core subjects of Science, Mathematics, English along with History, Geography, Art, and Physical Education.
The school’s main aim was to provide a supportive and inclusive environment for its pupils whilst promoting positive attitudes, behaviours, and values. When in use, the school comprised of two classrooms, a cafeteria, toilets and two portacabins.
Cotton Primary School closed its doors on 31 August, 1995 due to dwindling student numbers. Afterwards, it became known at the Cotton Reading Unit, and provided specialist support for children with additional needs. This too closed in 2013 and the school has since been left abandoned.
On the 19th April 2021, Alex Easton, the Independent MLA for North Down asked the then Minister of Education, Peter Weir, what the plans were for the future of the site.
Peter Weir, Minister of Education, Northern Ireland, stated the former Cotton Primary School site is being retained by the Education Authority for future use for children and young people with Special Education Needs (SEN).
Alex Easton then pressed Peter Weir on whether the site will be secured as it has been “wrecked”. Peter Weir noted he will raise with officials to see what actions are being taken to secure the site.
Alex Easton also submitted a petition to the Speaker of the Assembly, with the intention of reducing the speed on the road outside the school from 60 mph to 40 mph. The petition had 100 signatures. As of 2023, the speed on the road is still 60 mph.
In October 2020, a 14-year-old girl was injured outside the school at a bus stop following a collision with a white van. A spokesperson for the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) said:
“Police are appealing for witnesses to a road traffic collision involving a female pedestrian in Bangor yesterday evening, Friday, October 23.
The collision, which was reported just before 5.40pm, occurred on Cotton Road, in the vicinity of the bus stop opposite the old primary school.
A teenage girl, aged 14-years-old, was injured as a result of the collision, which involved a white Renault van.”
The Main Building:
Since closing, the school has fallen into a state of disrepair, and the portacabins out front were subjected to the elements and water damage. Due to this, in 2023, the portacabins were demolished.