GLENSTAL Abbey School have announced they are to take transition and fifth year day boarders for the first time in September.
They broke the mould when they accepted day boarders for the first time in the school’s over 80 year history in 2012.
Now in its second year they are broadening their reach due to demand and their new €6m school extension.
Br Martin Browne, principal, said one of the greatest benefits of the new building is that they now have the capacity to welcome more students.
“I know that some people in the area sometimes think that Glenstal is a ‘closed shop’ and that you need to have connections with the place to have a chance of getting a place for your son. Nothing could be further from the truth!” stressed Br Martin.
“Glenstal welcomes students of all backgrounds, including students with special educational needs and students who aren’t Catholic. Our new and more extensive facilities make it possible to enrol more students.
“I really hope that the fact that we now accept day boarders as well will make a Glenstal education possible for more Limerick families,” added the headmaster.
Less than 10 day boarders commenced their studies in Glenstal in September 2012 as they wanted to integrate them in slowly.
Places were quickly taken up.
The same applies now with transition and fifth years as places are limited. They complement the boarders whose numbers have remained high despite the downturn in the economy.
One of the first day boarders was Andrew Walsh from Murroe.
His father Richard says it was the perfect fit for his family as they didn’t want to go down the boarding route for a number of reasons.
“We live just a mile and half away, and we wanted him at home as his younger brother Ritchie has Down Syndrome - his development is contingent on interaction with his siblings so that is very important. They need their peers,” said Mr Walsh.
While its academic record speaks for itself, he mentions the holistic development as the school is owned and run by the Benedictine monks of Glenstal Abbey.
While it is very easy for either Richard or his wife Antoinette to drop Andrew to school, day boarders also come from the city, Killaloe and Adare.
“They organise a mini-bus. School starts at 8.45am with assembly and prayers. They get their lunch and tea and are finished about 7.15/7.30pm after sport and study.
“It is very relaxed. It is not regimented, if you want to stay on for second study it isn’t a problem or if a day boarder is going away to a match early the next day they can stay over.
“There are small classes and great bonds between the guys, great camaraderie,” said Mr Walsh.
The current cost of day boarding is €10,100, compared to €16,975 for boarding [both include a capital development levy of €950].