School hopes to stay in city centre

A fee-paying Cork secondary school hopes to remain in its city centre location after parents raised concerns about plans to move classes to a temporary location 3km away.

Scoil Mhuire notified parents this week they have been forced to move the entire school to the Sunbeam industrial estate in Blackpool, as a city centre house being used for some classes during renovations was no longer available.

Notice of the proposed move came just days before classes were due to resume next week and a premises, previously used by City of Cork Vocational Education Committee, is being readied for the move. But parents want an alternative location closer to the school’s inner city base, at Sidney Place, on Wellington Rd.

It is understood a nearby location could be available but it may take a few days to reach any firm agreement.

“Following a very constructive meeting this morning between management and the parents’ council, we are extremely hopeful that a successful outcome will be achieved in time for the commencement of the school term, with the school remaining in Sidney Place,” a statement said.

The 400-girl secondary school, where fees are €3,300 a year, operates from a number of old houses on the street. But classes for around 100 students were moved to a neighbouring property in March to facilitate a year-long refurbishment project.

The sudden unavailability of that premises forced the move announced this week. School trustee and co-founder Mary O’Donovan said management was faced with having no space for 100 students and not knowing where to put them.

She said a range of alternative locations had been considered, many of which were already familiar after the school’s search for temporary accommodation earlier this year. But the movement of the entire school was necessary because it would be impossible to plan timetables if some students and teachers had to move from Blackpool to the city centre between classes.

As reported in yesterday’s Irish Examiner, dozens of parents of Scoil Mhuire students who met on Thursday are angry at the effect of the move. They fear access to extra-curricular and after-school activities in the city centre could be disrupted, as well as having concerns about changes to school runs and other routines.

A spokesman for the parents’ council said the biggest concerns were around the logistics and losing the convenience of the current location.

“People appreciate having a city centre educational facility, which is convenient for buses and for people working in the centre of town,” he said.

“We had a constructive meeting with the school board this morning and brought up many of the suggestions and offers of help from parents,” the spokesman said.

The parents’ council is organising a meeting on the issue for all parents on Tuesday night.


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