Irish secondary school boosted by new faces

Hundreds of pupils head back to class this week

page 8 New School Year

Hundreds of primary and secondary school pupils are headed back to class across Inishowen in the coming days.

For the most part, National Schools open their doors next Monday morning but many second-level pupils have already taken some lessons this week ahead of the traditional September return.

The first years at the peninsula’s only Irish speaking secondary school, Coláiste Chineál Eoghain, Buncrana, have almost completed their debut week.

Fourteen new pupils began a five-year stint at the gaelcholaiste on Tuesday, including pupils from the gaelscoils in Moville and Buncrana as well as one each from Donagh NS, Carn and Scoil Iosagain.

The number is a significant boost to the school, which put just two pupils through the Leaving Cert this summer.

After a difficult couple of years for Coláiste Chineál Eoghain with questions over funding and the long-term viability of the school, Ms. Ní Mhonacháin is confident that future is now bright.

“We are really encouraged by the number of new pupils this year, which is the number that the Department has deemed necessary to make us viable.”

“The first few years were very, very difficult because the numbers weren’t in the two feeder schools. The gaelscoil in Buncrana was the only feeder school, Moville hadn’t reached sixth class stage,” she said.

Ms. Ní Mhonacháin said the school is confident that it can build on the high number of new entries this year for future years.

She said a number of factors have made it somewhat challenging to attract new pupils to Coláiste Chineál Eoghain.

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