Finally! A new post-primary school for Gorey town and an opportunity for real choice. Having access to the kind of school you want to send your child to shouldn’t be an accident of geography. Gorey needs more schools, it’s as simple as that, and we’re delighted to now finally have a chance to vote on the kind of school we want for our children.”
These are the relieved words of just one of the hundreds of very happy parents reacting to the announcement from the Department of Education last week that Gorey was one of the towns that would be getting a new secondary school.
It comes as no surprise to Gorey natives that the town would be on the Department’s list as it is well recognised that “the population of Gorey has exploded over the last fifteen to twenty years. Schools and other amenities are bursting at the seams and it is really great now to hear this news. Getting into Gorey’s post primary schools has become increasingly difficult and many parents have had no other option but to put their children on buses to other towns in the area. It’s time now for real choice for parents”.
One of the Patron bodies interested in helping set up the new school in the town is CEIST, a Catholic patron body that includes Mercy and Presentation schools.
CEO of CEIST, Clare Ryan, working closely with parents and principals in the town, is keen to stress the partnership approach CEIST takes.
“We’re interested in setting up a school in Gorey because parents have asked us to. We’re conscious in Gorey of the very good tradition of education that is provided through the joint patrons of the Community School. The Loreto sisters in particular are to be commended for their commitment to both primary and post-primary education in the town. Parents want more of that – they want the kind of education that a Catholic Trust such as our own can provide. Catholic education is a global brand with the highest of reputations”.
“Although, CEIST is a relatively new Education Trust, we are following a very long tradition of providing really high-quality Catholic education in Ireland. Through our Mercy and Presentation secondary schools across Wexford and South Wicklow and indeed across the whole country, we demonstrate a commitment to excellence, to equality, and to inclusion. We’re tried, tested and trusted”.
Aidan Ward, Principal of a CEIST school in Arklow, St. Mary’s College, is eager to attest to the excellence in Teaching and Learning associated with CEIST schools, agreeing that above all, the focus is on the education of the whole person and the showcasing of their talents and gifts.
Keira O’Sullivan, Principal Coláiste Bhride, Enniscorthy, another CEIST school, echoes these sentiments,
“Our schools are well known for producing well rounded young people who do well in exams and get on well in their lives. Our schools are happy and inclusive places where everyone is valued and everyone’s unique talents are developed”.
Both O’Sullivan and Ryan are keen to emphasise that in the welcome move to greater diversity, there also has to be an ongoing space for the kind of excellent Catholic state-of-the-art secondary school that CEIST offers. Ryan stresses, “It’s marvellous that in towns and cities across the country there is now such a wide range of choice available to parents and students in terms of second level education. Now is Gorey’s chance. We hope parents, by voting for CEIST in this patronage process, can be part of the choice parents and young people in Gorey have. But to have that real choice in your town, Gorey parents who are eligible to vote have to get out there and vote!”.
The Diocesan Secretary and Chancellor for Ferns Diocese, Fr John Carroll agrees.
“It’s really interesting in the times we’re living to see a clear desire for the values that CEIST stands for; values like solidarity, care for the student with special needs, care for those who are marginalised. A Catholic post-primary school would give great continuity to the parents in the town who want these values for their children all the way through their education, on their own door step, in their own home town.”
Clare Ryan puts it even more succinctly:
“Basically, a CEIST education is of course about great results in examinations but it’s also of course about really minding young people and getting the most out of them so that they can live full and happy lives. That’s really at the heart of the kind of education we offer in our 107 schools across the country and it’s what we really want to offer to the young men and women of Gorey as well”.