School defends 'dream move' to site 20km away
The principal of a Dublin school has defended plans to move 20km to a new facility, describing it as a "dream opportunity come true".
Parents were shocked when informed by management at John Scottus Secondary School in Donnybrook that it would be moving in less than eight months to Old Conna House, a 14-acre campus in Shankill.
Some parents have criticised the relocation, saying they've already begun looking for new schools, adding that it would be very "immediate and dramatic" for senior students.
One father with children in the senior and junior schools said John Scottus was "pulling the plug on its students, supporters and families".
However, school principal Dr Declan Kelly said the move was "a dream opportunity come true" for the school. "We understand that parents have made family, work and childcare decisions about the location of their secondary school. We empathise with that and will do everything we can to help with the reorganisation of their schedules," said Dr Kelly.
The school has promised to supply free buses to Old Conna House from the current premises in Donnybrook, as well as from the closest Luas and Dart stations. There will be no change in the cost of fees, currently at €5,550, despite the improvement of on-site facilities. The building is 50pc larger and includes 25 classrooms, a dining room, an all-weather pitch and an outdoor swimming pool.
Susie Sprat, a parent with children in the school, said the move hadn't come a moment too soon. She was "thrilled", despite it being a big adjustment for her family.
She said: "The school has been squished into a cramped building for years with small classrooms, a tiny yard and no sports facilities."
John Scottus is unique in having weekly philosophy classes and meditation sessions each day with students. Primary school students are also taught how to write and speak the 3,000-year-old Indian language Sanskrit.