IN A historic first for the country, a new national school planned for Mallow will be run under the joint patronage of the Cork County VEC and the Church of Ireland.
The move will also see the closure of the Mallow No1 National School, as it will be absorbed into the new school.
The development was confirmed this week by Junior Education Minister Sean Sherlock, who said the collaboration was made possible following Education Minister Ruairi Quinn's announcement on school patronage earlier this month.
The new community national school is part of a strategy to increase the number of school places in the Mallow area to cater for the increase in population over recent years. Under the five-year plan, planning for the new school will commence in September of this year.
Its development will go hand in hand with major extensions planned at Davis College and Gaelscoil Thomais Daibhis.
Both the VEC and Educate Together had been vying for patronage of the new school, which it is believed will be built in the Castlelands /St Joseph's Road area of the town.
The National School's Establishment Group had recommended patronage be awarded to Educate Together. However, it was felt that as they had opened a school in Midleton it would be awarded to the VEC in the interest of balance.
Minister Sherlock said the collaboration between the VEC and the Church of Ireland would be the first of its kind in Ireland. "Discussions were held with local schools regarding their capacity and it is proposed to defer opening the school until 2014," said Minister Sherlock.
The minister said he had also been overseeing a process of discussion through the department with authorities at the Mallow No 1 NS, at their behest.
"This discussion has resulted in an agreement that this school will be subsumed into the new community national school when it is established," he said.