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Gaelcholáiste gets approval to expand

September 5, 2014

A Cork northside all-Irish secondary school which had to turn away dozens of pupils because of space restrictions this year has been approved to expand by the Department of Education.

Although it has yet to be decided if Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG at the North Monastery will revert to admitting three first-year classes again next year, the recognition of a need for extra classes could signal a move that would see the heavy demand for places being met from September 2015.

The management of the school were criticised by local parents and public representatives when the policy of enrolling between 85 and 89 students into three first-year classes between 2011 and 2013 was changed.

Only 59 students in two first-year classes started at the school last week after its manager Pat Keating decided last year that the building had reached capacity. The intake of 89 a year ago only went ahead because of the strength of appeals against initial refusals to enrol many applicants.

Discussions with the Department of Education over several months have now led to approval for the school to move to an increased enrolment. This move to 520 students would allow the gaelcholáiste enrol three classes of up to 90 boys and girls each year.

“This welcome news should help meet the demand for places for secondary education through Irish in the northside of Cork City,” said a statement by school owners, Edmund Rice Schools Trust.

Although the school was originally built for 350 pupils, the extra intake of recent years has seen numbers grow by 100 in four years to 454 this term, putting pressure on space.

Irish Examiner