New development for second level education in Athlone

The Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, this week announced that St Joseph’s College and St Aloysius College will amalgamate in September 2017 to form a new Catholic voluntary secondary school for boys and girls.

The new school will initially cater for 500 students with the hope of expanding to 800 over a five year period. The Bishop said that the distinctive history and tradition of both St Aloysius and St Joseph’s will be preserved and promoted. The new school will have a new name and new management structures.

Planning will involve the upgrading of existing school buildings and the development of new state-of-the-art facilities on the existing Summerhill site to cater for the increased demand for school places which is evident from current primary school enrolments in the area.

To the forefront will be the provision of a wide range of subjects, programmes, educational opportunities and enhanced extracurricular activities. Bishop Doran also reassured parents, students, and staff that for students currently enrolled in both colleges subject choices will be maintained and in some respects improved during the interim period, as the two schools begin to co-operate more closely to enhance the educational opportunities of all the students.

The Bishop also announced that a project management committee will be appointed in the next few weeks to guarantee a seamless transition for students currently enrolled in both schools, and the best possible educational provision for future students. The committee will consist of the school principals, nominees from parents of students, staff and the patron body.

This committee will enter into a dialogue with parents, staff, students and all stakeholders in order to advance the project in a timely manner. It will oversee and plan for matters such as staffing, curriculum, subject provision, facilities, interim arrangements, uniform, timetabling, school name, books, school transport, public relations, and extracurricular provision. It will be chaired by Frank Smith, an experienced educational adviser.

The Bishop emphasised that support from the current school communities and from the entire community in the west Athlone area is essential for the success of the project. 

“Local support for the planning and preparation of this new and exciting project is vital if we are to ensure that all the boys and girls of the area can benefit from the finest education standards available in the modern era,” he said. “There is a need for us all to do our utmost to ensure that this new school development is provided with the very best of facilities and equipment.”

Bishop Doran thanked the boards of management, principals, staff, parents, and students of St Aloysius College and St Joseph’s College for their co-operation in progressing the new project.

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