SEISMIC changes have been proposed by the patrons of three Cork city secondary schools following a detailed consultation process on the future of second-level education on the northside.
A consultation process which involved a series of stakeholders from the three school communities took place between March 2021 and February 2022. The process, which was facilitated by independent facilitator Frank Smith, has resulted in the patrons of three northside secondary schools deciding on major changes.
Catholic Education An Irish Schools’ Trust (CEIST) and the Religious Sisters of Charity will submit an application to the Department of Education to amalgamate North Presentation Secondary School and St Vincent’s Secondary School.
They will also submit an application for the amalgamated secondary school to be a co-educational school. Currently both secondary schools are single-sex schools with only female students.
The North Monastery Secondary School, which was established in 1811, will remain an independent school, but the Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) will submit an application to the Department of Education for the school to change its status and become co-educational.
In a joint statement from the ERST, CEIST, and the Religious Sisters of Charity, they thanked the school communities of North Monastery, North Presentation, and St Vincent’s Secondary Schools for their participation in the consultation process.
The statement read: “In May 2022, the relevant patrons and the independent facilitator met with their respective boards of management.
“The views of parents, students, boards of management, and staff of the three post-primary schools and the views of local primary school students were reflected on and carefully considered.
“The patrons have decided on the following. The North Monastery Secondary School will remain an independent school and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust will submit an application to the Department of Education to change status to become a co-educational school.
“CEIST and the Religious Sisters of Charity will submit an application to the Department of Education to amalgamate North Presentation Secondary School and St Vincent’s Secondary School and for the newly amalgamated school to be a co-educational school.
“This application will request that the department provide capital funding to facilitate the accommodation of the amalgamated school onto a single site with the location to be determined on the basis of suitability as judged by the department, the Religious Sisters of Charity and CEIST.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Education told The Echo that it has not yet received any formal proposal.
“The decision-making authority for any amalgamation is the patron/trustees of the schools concerned and it is open to any patron to submit proposals to the department for consideration,” the spokesperson stated.
“Any proposed change involves extensive negotiations at local level and must be well planned and managed in a manner that accommodates the interests of students, parents, teachers, and local communities and contributes to an inclusive education system.
“The department has received no formal proposal from the patron/trustees of North Monastery Secondary School, North Presentation Secondary School, or St Vincent’s Secondary School.”