2 Become 1 (September 2017)
The wheel has come full circle and after sixty years the boys and girls of Allenwood once more attend a mixed school. This time however they will are mixed in the true sense of co-education with boys and girls in the one class.
In 1957 the girls moved out of what is now known as the boys’ school to the girls’ school building. The boys moved up to the girls’ building for a year while renovations were taking place in the boys’ building. However the two groups were segregated at all times with the girls occupying two rooms on the right and the boys occupying the two on the left. The Ballroom of romance comes to mind!!
The decision to amalgamate came as no great surprise as it has been a topic of conversation for many years now.
In 2006 following a whole school evaluation (WSE) in the boys’ school it was recommended that both schools amalgamate. Meetings were held at that time but it was felt that the timing was not right.
However the possibility of amalgamating both school never really went away.
With the population growing and both schools, building new classrooms the prospect of amalgamation was once again raised.
On the 7th March 2017 the boards of management of both schools met to discuss the possibility of amalgamation.
There was a consensus among the staff of both schools that by pooling the resources and staff, amalgamation would provide an enhanced educational experience for the children of Allenwood.
It was agreed at that meeting to issue a survey to the parents to assess the level of interest in the proposed amalgamation. The survey was sent out to the parents the following day.
The results of the survey were as follows: 175 surveys were given out.
145 votes in favour of amalgamation
12 votes not in favour
4 voted yes with questions (which were answered favourably)
14 papers were not returned.
Following this positive result it was decided to proceed with the amalgamation.
Both boards of management along with the school principals liaised with the Department of Education to progress the merger.
The Department of Education informed the Patron on the 23rd June that the amalgamation would go ahead and that the school would reopen as a co-educational school occupying the two buildings on August 30th 2017.
A manager has been appointed by the patron to work with the incoming principal and staff to oversee the merger. A new board of management will be appointed before the end of the year.
The amalgamated school is known as Scoil Mhuire Allenwood.
The school is on one campus as the shelter and hedge between both schools was removed. All children share the same play area and there will be constant communication and co-operation between both buildings.
There will be lots of thoughtful planning and review needed over the coming year but we will work together and deal with all issues in a slow considered manner.
This is an exciting adventure for all and we hope parents and the wider community will engage with us to make this a wonderful learning experience for all. After all the children are at the heart of everything we do.
Ní neart go cur le chéile/Unity is strength.