On Thursday 2 October, Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills visited Ballymakenny College, Drogheda, Co. Louth.
Ballymakenny College, which opened in August 2014, is 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. The College is currently accommodated in temporary premises in Aston Village Educate Together National School. The Minister was welcomed by Principal Alan Mynes, Principal John Kelliher of Aston Village ETNS and the Student Council of each school and visited classrooms accompanied by TD for Louth East Meath Ged Nash and Senator Mary Moran. Ms O’Sullivan then spoke individually with some of Ballymakenny College’s 63 students and went on to visit Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Class of Aston Village ETNS.
In September 2014, Educate Together was involved in successfully opening three new second-level schools as patron, joint patron or partner; Hansfield Educate Together Secondary School, Dublin 15; Kishoge Community College, Lucan, Co. Dublin and Ballymakenny College. Educate Together estimates that it costs €109,000 to open a second-level school and to date has received no funding from the Department of Education and Skills to cover the costs of opening these three second-level schools. Representatives of Educate Together requested that the Minister address this issue to ensure Educate Together can continue to drive the work required to open the further five schools sanctioned to open in the next three years in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Balbriggan and Ballinteer / Stepaside, Co. Dublin, North Wicklow and Carrigaline/South Suburbs Cork.
Jan O'Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills with students of Ballymakenny College, Drogheda and science teacher Leona Matthews