CORK secondary school Coláiste na Toirbhirte will become a co-educational school from this September following a decision made by their board of management and trustees.
In a break from tradition, the Bandon all-girls secondary school has responded positively to a request from the Department of Education and Skills inviting them to begin a process of incremental growth that will see the school become a significantly larger, co-educational campus by the time they celebrate 200 years of second level education in 2029.
The West Cork school has responded positively to solve the huge problem of a lack of places for local students with the Department of Education calculating that 300 extra second level school places will need to be found by 2025 to meet the growing demand.
In a statement, the school said it is looking forward to an “exciting new chapter” in their history.
The statement added: “Our trustees, CEIST has enthusiastically accepted the DES invitation and the board of management completely supports the decision.
“We are looking forward to playing our part in ensuring that the best educational experience is provided into the future for girls and boys in Bandon and environs. We are embedded in our local community. We are willing to act positively and plan for the change to co-education which will benefit everyone.”
Councillor Gillian Coughlan, a past pupil welcomed the news. “It is a good day for Bandon. It is a very progressive and ambitious move. It is evident that parents want co-educational facilities going forward for their sons and daughters. Parents want to send their children to the same school and get a high standard of education and have a high standard of facilities which is evident in Coláiste na Toirbhirte.”
Senator Tim Lombard praised the trustees for their vision. “It is great news. There has been an issue traditionally in Bandon with a lack of secondary school places. It is a very brave and powerful step by the decision-makers. Their courage in coming up with a solution has to be applauded,” he said.