Tuesday 12 November 2019

Concerns over site for merger of city schools

Derek Nolan, Labour deputy for Gaway West. Picture: Tom Burke
Derek Nolan, Labour deputy for Gaway West. Picture: Tom Burke

Caroline Crawford

Concerns have been raised about the amalgamation site for two secondary schools in Galway, with claims that the decision is being motivated by financial concerns.

The proposed merger of the Mercy and Presentation Secondary Schools was first mooted back in 2009 when an assessment was carried out which named the Mercy site as the best location.

However, after announcing that the merger was to finally go ahead in September 2016, the Catholic Education Irish Schools Trust (CEIST) announced the Presentation site as the chosen location. Parents and teachers have now raised concerns about the decision.

Labour TD Derek Nolan said the decision must be "motivated solely" by the educational needs of the pupils. He has written to CEIST outlining a number of concerns raised by parents of pupils in the schools.

"The proposed merger of these two fine schools makes sense - the student numbers merit the amalgamation into a single school that can offer broader subject choice. But the merger process must work fully in the interests of students," he said.

"I understand that parents have been told that the merged school will be located in the existing Presentation school building, despite an assessment carried out in 2009 that the Mercy was the best choice."

His concerns have been seconded by Independent TD Noel Grealish, who plans to raise the matter in the Dail.

One concern raised by parents is that the Mercy site has a fully equipped gym and state-of-the-art technology room while the Presentation school does not.

Mr Nolan said he was concerned about a lack of consultation with parents and staff, and he called for "real and genuine consultation".

He has asked CEIST to explain the decision-making process.

The two schools are set to begin collaboration from this September with a full merger occurring in September 2016.

CEO of CEIST Marie Griffin said the decision was taken after an "entirely objective" review of both school sites by an independent body.

She dismissed any claims that the decision was taken for financial reasons.

Irish Independent

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