Méid an Téacs

Irish secondary refuses pupils places

Nollaig 17, 2012

A row between the board of the only all-Irish secondary school on Cork City’s northside and its trustees has left dozens of children upset at being refused enrolment for next year.

After taking in three first-year classes in three out of the last four years, Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG at the North Monastery has now turned down around 50 of the 110 applicants for places in Sept 2013.

The school board had hoped to take in more than 80 students, but says the Edmund Rice Schools Trust, which owns the school, was behind the cut.

“The board of management intended, and still wishes, to have three classes but was directed by our trustees to take 58 students,” said board secretary Dónal Ó Buachalla.

“As principal, I’d be acutely concerned that there are parents and children who have legitimate expectation. Even at this late stage, I would hope there would be a satisfactory resolution, through ongoing discussion and dialogue between the trustees and the board.”

There are differences of opinion over whether the school has space to accommodate a third first-year class. It is understood that trustees want a phased increase in numbers ahead of any expansion of facilities. The Gaelcholáiste has 405 boys and girls on its roll.

ERST chief executive Gerry Bennett said the record should show that the board decided not to take in more children than it had capacity for, and the trustees agree with this decision.

“Any other course of action would be against the interests of the students already enrolled in the school,” said Mr Bennett. “If a development proposal for extended building provision is received from the school, the ERST will look at it carefully and with consideration for demand for education through Irish in the area.”

But Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Gould said parents who were given the impression there would be more than 80 places at Gaelcholáiste Mhuire feel the goalposts have been moved. Mr Gould is a board member of Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, which he said had four of out of 11 applicants for the Gaelcholáiste turned down.

“We have parents speaking with their feet, choosing Gaelscoils in the northside, while the only second-level all-Irish school in the area is cutting places,” he said.