As St Ronan’s College officially opened this week, it was also announced that plans are at an advanced stage for a new £32.5m school building.
The College, which is an amalgamation of St Mary’s High School, St Paul’s High School and St Michael’s Grammar School, opened on Tuesday.
St Ronan’s College is a non-selective 11-19 co-educational Catholic voluntary grammar school which will eventually be located in a new building on the St Michael’s site.
In March 2014 Education Minister John O’Dowd approved the proposal of the trustees to amalgamate the three schools.
In January this year Mrs Michele Corkey took up position as Principal Designate and began the process of planning for this week’s opening.
Mrs Corkey pledged her commitment to improving the life chances of all of the pupils attending St Ronan’s College.
She said’: “I have dedicated my career to the development of Catholic, non-selective education and know that the establishment of St Ronan’s College creates a blueprint for the future of education in Northern Ireland. My core purpose as the lead learner in St Ronan’s will be to nurture a love of teaching and learning in both staff and pupils and a desire to see that all young people are given the best start in life and allowed to fulfil their potential.
“My vision for St Ronan’s is to develop an all-ability centre of excellence, rooted in the core values of service, equality and social justice which, in partnership with students, parents, staff, governors, external agencies and the local community promotes and develops the values of Catholic education. Pupils should have, through curriculum and pastoral provision, opportunities to explore many new experiences, making them more aware of their strengths, preparing them for the world of work by making informed judgements and equipping them with the skills to become lifelong, independent learners.
“Teachers must be supported to embrace the changes of the 21st century in providing a diverse, skills based curriculum while ensuring that we bear witness to the core values of our faith as a Catholic school.
“Parents and the local community must believe in the College’s ability to deliver a high quality educational experience to all pupils, the academically elite and those who need support with their learning.
“As the months of planning come to an end and the college looks forward to the opening ceremony the Senior Leadership team have been developing courses, materials and schemes that will allow each student to appreciate his/her dignity and respect others. The vision and values of this new College promotes positive relationships, consistency of approach, effective learning and teaching and strong collaborative relationships based on mutual respect,” said the new principal.
“The opening ceremony was very much a pupil-centred celebration. Bishop McAreavey led the congregation in prayer and thanksgiving for the new College. The Papal Nuncio Dr Charles Brown was also present with the Minister of Education to officially open the new school. Plans are at an advanced stage for a new building with a commitment of £32.5 million,” she said.