THE trustees of Salesians Schools have said they are “committed to continuing” primary education into the future at Fernbank in Limerick.
The trustees were commenting after a number of parents who attended a recent meeting at the Greenhills Hotel expressed concerns over a proposal to amalgamate the mixed infant school with the all-girls primary school.
In a clarifying statement issued to the Limerick Leader, the trustees stressed that there was no plan to effectively segregate girls from boys in the junior school and that girls finishing their education at Salesians Primary would have a right of entry into the new Thomond Community College, which is being created from the amalgamation of Salesians Secondary and St Nessan’s.
The Greenhills meeting on April 15 was attended by parents from both the infant and primary school, representatives of the trustees and boards of management and had been facilitated by the Diocesan Education Office.
“The purpose of the meeting was to consult with and hear the opinion of parents in relation to the ongoing provision of Salesians primary education in Fernbank,” the trustees stated.
“The Salesian Trustees are committed to continuing the provision of Salesians primary education in Fernbank and wish to ensure such provision into the future. In this regard, the concepts of consolidation and amalgamation, with a view to future-proofing existing primary school provision, were discussed.
“An amalgamation of the existing schools would result in the creation of a single primary school providing education for infant boys and all-through girls (i.e. junior infants to 6th class girls).
“As population trends in the city continue to change, there is no longer the same school-going population in the immediate area of the Fernbank schools as in previous times when the schools had an enrolment in excess of 800 pupils between them. There is also awareness of recent changes regarding primary school provision on the northside of the city. It is in this context that the trustees are seeking the views of parents on the configuration of Salesians primary school education in the Fernbank area.
“These meetings were part of a pro-active approach by trustees and boards to look ahead and see how best to ensure the continued provision of primary education at Salesians Fernbank.
“In any ongoing provision the present status of infant boys and girls from infants through to sixth will continue. There will also be direct right of entry from Salesians Primary Schools to the Thomond Community College in 2016.
“The trustees wish to acknowledge the work undertaken by boards of management, staffs and the parents/guardians in each school in creating a vibrant school community committed to the Salesian ethos and providing an excellent education to pupils.”