Friday August 22 was an historic occasion for Educate Together as it marked the very first day of a brand new second-level school, Ballymakenny College. The school is one of three new second-level schools opening in Ireland this year in which in Educate Together is involved as patron, joint patron or partner.
DCU President Professor Brian MacCraith opened Ballymakenny College, a new type of community school, with Louth Meath ETB and Educate Together as its joint patrons. It is a co-educational school, has an ethos based on equality, human rights and active citizenship and is the first of its kind in the country.
Two more second-level schools with Educate Together involvement are set to open next week. They are:
- Kishoge Community College in Lucan, Co Dublin (Dublin & Dún Laoghaire ETB is the patron, working in formal partnership with Educate Together)
- Hansfield Educate Together Secondary School in Ongar, Dublin 15 (Educate Together is sole patron of this voluntary secondary school).
Educate Together recognises that parents and community representatives in all these areas have campaigned for many years for access to Educate Together second-level schools in their communities, and acknowledge the role of the numerous committed parents from Drogheda and beyond who have actively campaigned for Ballymakenny College to be established. Paul Rowe, CEO of Educate Together: ‘Students need a breadth of skills and attributes to succeed in today’s diverse world and changing workplace. They need to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn throughout their lives. Ballymakenny College aims to provide an education that will enable all students to contribute meaningfully to their communities, embrace the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to live their lives and to build their careers in the 21st century.’
The new school community, comprising of 70 students and their parents and 8 teachers, will spend their first year in temporary accommodation at Aston Village ETNS before moving to their new state of the art facility on the Ballymakenny Road. The new school building will be fully WiFi enabled, allowing information and Communications Technology to be integrated into all learning environments. It will be used as a learning tool and to link school, home and the local and global community. The new 1000 place building will also boast a full size gymnasium, fitness suite and special education needs suite.