‘School amalgamation’: facilitator appointed

A facilitator has been appointed to discuss the  proposed amalgamation of secondary schools in Roscommon town as predicted in The People over the past three months.   Mr. Frank Smith who is a former school principal and educational consultant has been put in place to discuss the matter further with the relevant authorities and he has arranged a meeting with the trustees of both schools and the chairpersons of the boards of management of both the CBS Secondary school and the Convent of Mercy Secondary School.   A committee representing parents and other interested parties which was set up following  a public meeting held in The Abbey Hotel six weeks ago has also written to Mr. Smith requesting an urgent meeting.   A spokesperson for the committee told The People this week: ‘The fear amongst parents and others is that although over 90% of the people who attended the public meeting in The Abbey Hotel last month were against a possible amalgamation nothing has happened since that we know about, and we want to meet Mr. Smith to outline our position and our  opposition to amalgamation plans and we want to know what is going on.   ‘We are afraid that we are being ignored and until we hear what the exact plans of the Sisters of Mercy and the Christian Brothers are we will not be able to keep people informed.    ‘The school year will be over soon and there will be three months in which anything could happen so we want to meet Mr. Smith as a matter of urgency to outline our opposition to any possible amalgamation plans. We would be failing in our duty if we do not find out what is going on and report that back to the parents. There is a lot of unease over the situation.’    The action committee have looked at other proposed amalgamations around the country and what has happened in those situations and models like one in Dublin and another in Westport which were successfully opposed are being held up as models as to what might be achieved in Roscvommon in the future. In both the situations looked at the schools involved agreed a programme of co-operation with regard to certain subjects and the use of rescources while retaining their autonomy.