History was made in Ardee on Wednesday August 31st 2022 as Junior Infant boys and girls came to Monastery National School Ardee together for the first time in 132 years.
Parents, teachers and the whole school community were visibly excited and delighted as little girls and boys entered the school gates together for the first time.
They were greeted by their smiling teachers Ms Claire McCabe and Ms Áine McNally who are looking forward to teaching boys and girls.
Principal Jim McGee said that, “Coeducation is something that was dearly wanted by our whole school community for some time and the preparations for coeducation have been ongoing for many years.
“Previous school Board of Managements had the foresight, during a two million euro school building refurbishment in 2007, to provide separate toilets for boys and girls in each classroom.
“We have state of the art school facilities and our large enclosed Infant Yard provides playground equipment, go karts and a Wendy house to keep our boys and girls active and happy”.
Monastery NS carried out a coeducation survey with their parents in 2021 and 98 percent expressed a strong desire for the provision of coeducation.
Deputy Principal Philip McAdam said, “Everyone in our school community could see the obvious benefits for parents of brothers and sisters coming to school together. It meant one uniform, one drop off/pick up, one set of school communications, one school App and one virtual learning environment”.
Then followed an application to the Department of Education for a change of school status from single gender to coeducation.
This application also had the full support of Monastery NS Board of Management, School Patron Archbishop Eamonn Martin and school staff.
The change of status was granted by the Department of Education in June 2022 with Coeducation approved to commence in Junior Infants on August 31st 2022.
The school crest and school uniform were updated to reflect the new coeducation school status.
Monastery NS also provided a new school website at www.monasterynsardee.ie to give parents an insight into their numerous school activities and spacious facilities.
More good news followed for Monastery NS last January when the Department of Education announced that it had awarded the school DEIS 2 status.
This award brings many added benefits and resources to the school community.
It has led to the appointment of a Home School Community Liaison teacher, Mrs Siobhán Maxwell, who works with parents and acts as an important link between home and school.
It has also meant the end of making school lunches by Monastery NS parents each morning as a free hot meal will be provided by the school for each pupil from early October. Parents will simply download an App and order their child’s lunches for the week free of charge.
For over 132 years in Ardee Monastery NS has always been known as the “boys school” but this is no longer the case.
Principal Mr Jim McGee commented that, “we are now a fully inclusive school where girls and boys learn together, play together and grow in friendship together.
“And now that we have made a start to coeducation there is considerable interest in enrolment next year.
“Our enrolment for Junior Infant boys and girls for September 2023 will be opened in early October 2022 and parents will be able to apply for a place in one of our two small Junior Infant classes”.
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