Bantry’s new amalgamated High School is getting ready..
Yesterday, at the Maritime in Bantry we attended the official enrolment day for the new Colaiste which is due to open later this year. The new principal, Mr Kevin Healy, gave a wonderful welcoming speech and answered many questions that parents have, especially in regards to the school being completed on time. He explained that it is hoped the new school will be ready for occupancy after the mid-term break in October. From September, (until such time the new building is ready) the children will attend in the two existing buildings of Ard Scoil Phobal and St. Goban’s College.
Listening to Mr Healy speak about the new school and its modern style and numerous facilities, I found myself feeling hugely optimistic about the venture. The school is set on a 14 acre site and the PE facilities alone are impressive – including 5 hard courts, a fully equipped, full sized PE hall, a fitness area, a full size grass pitch, changing room and showers and an instructors facility.
The school is going to include, over 16 general classrooms, lecture rooms, music rooms, guidance suites, meditation rooms, Chaplins offices, maths learning rooms, multi-media rooms, social studies room, demonstration rooms, art rooms, home economics, business studies and design communications rooms to name but a few. The school will also have three laboratories one each for Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
|A projection of what the completed school will look like|
Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai will offer 8 core subjects including Irish, English, Maths, History, Geography, Science, French and CSPE. There are 6 optional subjects of which each student has to choose 3. The choice subjects are art, business studies, home economics, metalwork, technical graphics and woodwork. Non exam subjects include SPHE, religious education and physical education. The Colaiste is under the Co-trusteeship of County Cork Vocational Education Committee and the Diocese of Cork and Ross.
For the past number of years there has been a lot of negative talk about the amalgamation in Bantry – a lot of parents have been apprehensive about having such a large school – that for discipline purposes it may become “unwieldy” . Others felt that by combining the two schools, each existing school was being stripped of its individual identity and that any form of “friendly competition” is a good thing in that it instils a sense of pride. Once that sense of individuality has been lost, the original sense of belonging, or pride, will be eliminated. Other parents were adverse to the uniform , which is a highly tailored one and available only at two retail outlets locally in Bantry town. Parents like the option of being able to avail of special back to school “3for2” offers at the larger department stores in the city – especially when a family has more than three uniforms to buy. Some parents suggest that the special crested jumper would have been fine as a mark of distinction if worn over a pair of generic grey trousers and grey polo shirt (cheaply available at Dunnes or Tesco). However, it has been arranged that both drapery stores in Bantry will be most accommodating in setting up a lay-by account so parents can top up from now until September to meet the cost of the pressed navy pants (€27.95) the navy skirt (€29.95) and the School blue and white striped shirt (€14.95). Another parental concern was break times and having the children all milling around town buying lunch and commandeering the side-walks; this issue has been pleasantly resolved in that the younger cycle, ie, 1st, 2nd and 3rd year pupils will not be allowed down to town during break times but the older cycle 5th and 6th will be permitted. That is an admirable policy and was warmly received.
So, all in all, my personal opinion is one of enthusiasm and I feel positive that five of my children (who will spend their entire high –school lives there) will benefit as each child will have something they love catered for from art to football in a spanking new, purpose built establishment!
For further information visit http://www.colaistepobailbheanntrai.com/ or phone 027-50882