Staff of Roscommon Convent of Mercy have formally rejected any talk of a merger of second-level schools in Roscommon town. The possibility of such a merger taking place is under the spotlight again this week with a major public meeting of parents of students who attend the Convent of Mercy Secondary School being organised (Thursday night, March 8th in School Assembly Hall, 8 pm). The Convent of Mercy invited all parents and guardians to attend the meeting. Staff at the Convent then took the step of writing to parents and guardians ahead of the meeting – to advise of their opposition to any merger. In strongly-worded correspondence the staff advise those attending the meeting of what they see as the dangers associated with the formation of a co-educational secondary school in the town. The letter gives the following reasons why staff at The Convent are opposed to any amalgamation: ‘1: Single sex education has served Roscommon well for almost a century. 2: Since 1929 The Convent Secondary School has provided the girls of the town and its environs with a broad education with a huge emphasis on acedemic achievement, extra-curricular activities and pastoral care. The support of the public is evidenced by the increased enrolment in recent years. 3: It is generally accepted that girls perform better educationally in a single-sex environment. 4: By amalgamating schools parents will be deprived of the choice of single-sex education for their children. 5: The amalgamated school would have a student body in excesss of 1,000 and with this increased size comes added control behavioural and social issues. 6: The personal nature of a small school would become lost in such circumstances.’ The letter goes on to say that the main driving force behind the move is the need for capital investment in the schools in question. However the staff say this is an issue that can be overcome and they say there is more to education than the buildings in which that education takes place. It is clear from the letter that the staff at The Convent of Mercy are strongly opposed to any amalgamation proposals which may arise from any future negotiations as revealed exclusively three weeks ago in The Roscommon People. At that time the Principal of The Convent of Mercy Secondary School Mr. Tom Judge said that the staff were ‘devastated and saddened’ at the prospect of an amalgamation. It is hoped that the position of the Sisters of Mercy who own the School will become clearer following the meeting this week. Full report on the parents meeting in next week’s isssue.