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Amalgamation marks end of an era for education

It is the end of an era in Oranmore this week as two of the village’s primary schools hold closing ceremonies ahead of their amalgamation as a single school for the start of the new academic year in September.

The girls’ national school, Scoil Mhuire, held its closing ceremony yesterday (Wednesday), with Scoil Iósaif Naofa, the boys’ national school, following suit today (Thursday) as the two schools are set to form one new ‘super school’ called Scoil Íosa Oranmore from September.

“It’s very emotional,” said the outgoing principal of Scoil Mhuire, Edel Carney.

“I am 36 years with the school, and have been principal since 2012, so I am really going to miss it. We have so many wonderful memories from down through the years, and while it is a very exciting time, there is a bit of sadness there as well, and I for one will be sad to say goodbye,” she said.

The new school will cater for a pupil population of close to 750 children – at present, Scoil Mhuire caters for pupils from Junior Infants up to Sixth Class and has a roll of about 470 children, and features children from 27 different nationalities; with Scoil Iósaif having a roll of about 270 boys from its classes, which are from First Class to Sixth Class, and has representation from 25 different nationalities.

There had been previous talk about the two schools merging over the years, but never progressed beyond the initial ‘idea’ stage. That changed recently when Edel says some parents again raised the issue with her, and after bringing it to her schools’ parents and the Board of Management, the matter was raised with the boys’ school.

The suggestion was met favourably, so the proposal was then brought to the Bishop of Galway, as both schools operate under the Galway Diocese, and the proposal to merge received approval.

“The school has been in existence since the 1890s when four Presentation Sisters came out from the city to establish a school, so there is a long history there,” explained Edel.

“We have grown from that small school to the wonderful community we have today, with about 470 children and a staff of 53, and we have always been a very inclusive school,” Edel explained.

The boys’ school boasts a staff of 30, and it is the principal of the boys’ school, Maeve Meenaghan, who has been appointed as the principal of the new school.

The new school crest was designed by the pupils of both schools, with guidance from local graphic artist and school parent, Corrinna Maguire. It features a cross with oak leaves emerging from its base, two hands clasped in a handshake, a swan, with its wings unfolding as pages of a book.

For the new school year, pupils from Junior Infants to Third Class will be accommodated in Campus One, which is the existing girls’ school, with pupils from Fourth Class to Sixth Class will attend Campus Two (the existing boys’ school). The new uniform will be teal and dark blue/navy, with a white polo shirt.

Pictured: Scoil Mhuire…this extension to the girls’ school was built in 2018.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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