DOUGLAS Community School recently installed a courtyard to allow their first-year students to integrate.
The Cork City secondary school takes in first-year students from the many primary schools in its catchment area.
School principal Pat Barry said the new courtyard will ensure that they ‘integrate’ easily.
“It is designed to ensure they integrate with each other,” Mr Barry said. “We have students from 15 or 16 different feeder schools. Some of them came with friends, while others might be the only pupil from that specific school.
"It is set up to keep them together and allow them the chance to get to know each other at the beginning of the school term.”
Intensive work was carried out on the new courtyard during the summer to be ready for the start of the new academic year.
“We are delighted with the end product and the first-year students love the area,” Mr Barry said. “We had an outdoor courtyard area that was a bit overgrown, and it had an old pond. It needed some upgrading. The pond was removed, and we put in outdoor seating. We put in special tables. We have waterproof grass and new shrubs.
“The first-year students spend their breaks there and they are all included in one area. It is enclosed and safe. We also have a roofed section, where they can go if the weather gets wet.
"It is fabulous to see them out in the fresh air, chatting amongst themselves and enjoying the new space,” he said.
Mr Barry said classes could also be held in the new outdoor area.
“We also spent a lot of money on the library, as it opens out onto the courtyard. It will be a fabulous reading space. Classes can also be held in the outdoor space, and it will be fabulous for smaller groups of students as well.”
The Douglas Community School principal said there are “very mixed emotions” at this time of the year.
“We have a new bunch of students who are looking up at us wide-eyed and they are excited about their second-level career. It is nice for us to facilitate their learning and school journey,” Mr Barry said.