The patrons of three Catholic second-level schools on the northside of Cork City are beginning talks on their futures.
The trustees of North Monastery, St Vincent’s, and North Presentation are to begin a consultation process that will see them "explore together current and future Catholic educational provision in North Cork city".
North Monastery Secondary School is an all-boys school, while St Vincent's and North Presentation are both all-girls.
In a letter to parents, the St Vincent's Secondary School Parents' Association described the talks as an "extremely worrying development" which could lead to the removal of its single-sex status, or to a potential amalgamation:
"St Vincent's has a rich history and great successes are being made in all areas of our school in recent years," the letter added.
This includes being the first school to educate women on the northside of Cork, and to be the first secondary school there to open an ASD class.
"We hope you will support us in ensuring at least another 170 years for our school."
A spokesman for the patrons of the three schools — Religious Sisters of Charity, Catholic Education an Irish Schools Trust (CEIST), and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) — confirmed that a consultation process is to begin.
Due to the rapidly changing educational landscape and the significant service the schools are providing, the three patrons have agreed that it is an opportune time to explore together current and future Catholic educational provision in North Cork city, he said.
“A consultation process is now commencing which will seek to gather the perspectives of boards of management, staff, students, and parents."
“We hope to capture the joys, concerns, hopes, and anxieties of all which will inform a vision for Catholic secondary education in North Cork city and serve the community for decades to come.”
The consultation process will be guided by an independent facilitator, Frank Smith.
No formal proposals have yet been received by the Department of Education.
Meanwhile, the Leaving Cert Candidate Self Service Portal will reopen on Tuesday, April 27 until Friday, April 30.