The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., today officially opened six new classrooms, a technology room, a science laboratory and a library at St. Leo’s College, Dublin Road, Carlow.
The school was provided with a grant in excess of €1 million as part of the Prefab Replacement Scheme to replace existing prefabs with a permanent building together with some ancillary accommodation.
Speaking at St Leo’s College today (Thursday, 30th of January) the Minister said, “I’m delighted to be here today to open this new extension to the school building, which is a great addition to the facilities already available. Principal Clare Ryan, the board of management and all the school community are to be congratulated for the hard work which made these wonderful new rooms possible.”
Minister Quinn, who was accompanied by Labour T.D. for Carlow Kilkenny Ann Phelan, also took the opportunity to see at first hand the work St Leo’s College is doing on the new JCSA. The school is one of the pilot schools who are already applying the changes recommended for junior cycle.
“St Leo’s is one of the trailblazing schools who are already implementing the junior cycle reforms into practice. I am very encouraged to see their pioneering work at putting students rather than exams at the centre of the first three years of secondary school,” said Minister Quinn.
Minister Quinn also officially launched Guidelines on Managing Safety and Health in Primary Schools in the Kilkenny Education Centre, Callan Road, Kilkenny. 4000 copies of the guidelines have been distributed to all primary schools.
They were developed by Kilkenny Education Centre, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and the Department of Education and Skills in response to a strong demand from primary schools for guidance and clarification to enable them to better manage the existing legal obligations and responsibilities.
“These Guidelines provide a fantastic toolkit for primary schools. They set out a step-by-step approach to safety and health management that can be used by schools to develop new systems or to improve those already in place,” said the Minister.
He congratulated the Kilkenny Education Centre and HSA for their vision on this initiative.
Under the Prefab Replacement Initiative 2012 approval was given to 170 schools to replace 458 prefab units with permanent accommodation. In excess of €42 million was allocated of which €38 million has been paid to date. 133 projects have now been completed and a further 26 projects are on site. The estimated per annum rental savings when these projects are completed is approximately €5 million per annum.
Kilkenny Education Centre caters for a catchment area 143 primary schools, 37 post-primary schools and approximately 2500 teachers and Special Needs Assistants.
Since its inception in September 1997, the Centre has been a leader in the development, design and delivery of professional development initiatives both at a national and local level. The majority of the work in the Centre focuses on teacher professional development. Courses are also run for parents and student councils on an annual basis.