LIMERICK’s latest purpose-built school has been officially opened at the Children’s Ark paediatric unit at University Hospital Limerick.
Performing the honours of unveiling the plaque at the ceremony was five-year-old patient Jayden Conway Wood from Killaloe, assisted by school founder Dr Liam Carroll.
The school provides multi-denominational primary and secondary level education for students attending University Hospital Limerick. The new facility comprises a large classroom for primary students, a second classroom for secondary students along with complete facilities including toilets, office space and an outdoor learning area.
The Department of Education and Skills has approved the installation of 100MB fibre broadband to enable access to the most up to date technology to support the education of the students.
The school has its own board of management and two teachers, Mary Carr and Margaret McCarthy, both of whom are members of HOPE, the organisation for hospital teachers in Europe.
Speaking at the opening was CEO of UL Hospitals Ann Doherty who said: “We are very proud of having such a quality school on site and I want to acknowledge and thank the board of management and their staff for all the work they have done to make this school a reality.”
The Children’s Ark School was originally the brainchild of consultant paediatrician Dr. Liam Carroll who got sanction from the Department of Education and Skills to establish a school to cater for the ongoing education of children in University Hospital Limerick. The school opened in 2006 and originally operated from the dining room of the Sunshine Ward in the Children’s Ark Unit.
Board of Management Chairman Frank Keane, commented that: “The new school is a wonderful new development, encompassing the best available information technology to assist in providing continuity for those young people unlucky enough to be ill and requiring hospital care. Meeting the young person’s educational needs is a vital part of the holistic approach required to put them on the road to recovery.”
Frank also wanted to acknowledge the hard work of everyone involved and added: “A huge thank you must go to my predecessor as chair of the board of management, Dr Liam Carroll, who was the true visionary who had the foresight to get the concept of education while in hospital off the ground back in December 2006.”
The school’s ethos is: “No child in the mid-western region will be at a disadvantage educationally if in University Hospital Limerick.”
The school building cost approximately €320,000.