Sunday 26 January 2020

Educate Together makes history with first secondary school

Teacher Liam Dwan here with his class of first years at Ballymakenny College. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson.
Teacher Liam Dwan here with his class of first years at Ballymakenny College. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson.

Claire McCormack

A new secondary school has opened for the first time under the control of Educate Together.

Ballymakenny College, in Drogheda Co Louth, is one of three new second-level schools opening over the coming days in which the multi-denominational educational charity is involved either as patron, joint patron or partner.

Ballymakenny is also the first second-level community school supported by two multi-denominational patrons.

In partnership with the Louth Meath Education and Training Board - which runs 20 schools in the area - the school will be guided by the principles of democracy, multi-denomination, co-education and student-centred learning.

Alan Mynes, Ballymakenny College Principal, said: "We're combining shared elements of each patron's individual expertise, innovation and ethos."

Its 65 pupils have been drawn from 12 schools in Meath, Dublin and Louth - including two local Educate Together primary schools.

"They will set the tone and values for the school and the student body for the years to come and we expect numbers to rise to 1,000," said Mr Mynes, former deputy principal at St David's CBS, Artane, Dublin.

He added that "parents will be very involved in creating policies and codes".

Two similar second-level schools will open in Dublin next week, with a total of 128 students.

Ruth Doggett, Educate Together's Second-level programme manager, said: "It's a moment in history for Educate Together.

"We've worked very hard to create a vision for the schools. We've looked extensively at the models we want to implement to help students develop skills in creative and critical thinking, communication, teamwork and leadership."

Seven new Educate Together primary schools are also set to open nationwide, plus one in the UK next month. Currently there are over 16,000 pupils in 74 Educate Together schools in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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