THREE national schools catering for girls and boys on Limerick’s northside are to merge into one from this September.
St Munchin’s CBS Boys Primary School on Shelbourne Road and St Leila’s National School in Kileely will close at the end of this school year and join the Convent Girls Primary School, Ballynanty, which will be renamed.
Schools in many parts of the city have seen their numbers dwindle in recent years as parents send their children to other parts of the city or the county for their education.
Northside Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan hailed the merger as “a step forward” for education in Limerick - and said the only other option was to close one or more of the schools. It is hoped the amalgamation of the three schools will result in greater resources for teachers and pupils, with the school’s student population to start at 220.
“A lot of parents were consulted on this, and this would appear to be the best solution,” Cllr Quinlivan said. “I believe it will be a fantastic school.”
A changeover committee has been set up comprising of representatives of parent’s councils from St Munchin’s, St Leila’s and the Convent.
Over the next month, they will decide what the new school at the Convent will be called, and the design of the uniforms, with the first students due to start in September.
It is understood that parents will also be given the option to send their children to Gaelscoil Sairseal on Bridge Street in the city if they do not wish to have them attend the newly merged school.
But Cllr Quinlivan added: “We all believe the new school which will emerge will be much better. The three existing schools have good reputations anyway. I do believe the school, as amalgamated, will be able to benefit from more resources than the three existing schools combined”.
Joe Lyons, local representative for the Irish National Teachers Organisation, said such mergers are “commonplace”.
“St Munchin’s in the past would have had a much bigger population, maybe 30 to 40 years ago now. But it is an ageing population,” he said.