Contracts have been signed for the building of a new €320,000 school in the Children’s Ark School of University Hospital Limerick which will incorporate the latest in information technology and cater for the continuing education of children who are patients in the hospital. The project will take 8 months and the contractors are Clancy Construction, Thurles.
The original school opened on Dec 4th, 2006 and was the brainchild of paediatrician Dr Liam Carroll. He believed it would help to normalise their day and help to provide for the holistic treatment of children in hospital. He worked tirelessly to bring this dream to fruition and eventually his work paid off.
The school was opened officially on January 25th 2008 by Minister Mary Hanafin, Minister for Education and Science. It is governed by a Board of Management just as in any Dept of Education school. The Board are very supportive of the school and have worked very hard to ensure that this building would happen. Liam Carroll, though retired continued as Chairperson of the BOM until recently. He gave very generously of his time and talents to this project.
Mr Frank Keane, Directorate Manager Maternal & Child Health, has now taken over as chairperson. He has put in a lot of time and effort and continues to do so, to support and push the building project.
UL Hospitals chief executive Ann Doherty is the patron at present. Mark Sparling was when the school was established. Paula Cussen Murphy was also patron for some time.
There are two teachers running the school. The principal is Margaret Mc Carthy and the second teacher is Mary Carr. Teachers in healthcare settings must be registered members of The Teaching Council and are regulated by the Department of Education and Skills. Both teachers are members of H.O.P.E.(Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe)
The National Curriculum and associated methodologies and resources, including
Communication Technology is implemented appropriate to the individual needs of the child and young person.
The Hospital School creates a community of children and young people and normalizes everyday life. Since the school was established it has received huge support from the all the staff in Children’s Ark Unit and also from the greater hospital community such as the IT department.
The BOM and teachers are now very excited that the building of a purpose built school is about to commence. The school is well established now. The work being done in the school was recognized by the Department of Education Inspector Emer Duffy in the School report following the Whole School Evaluation carried out in March 2010.
All are now looking forward to continuing to develop the work of the school in a state of the art building and adding to the excellent care being given to the children in University Hospital Limerick.
The BOM members at present are Caroline Daughton, Liz Early, Beryl Carswell, Helen Cunneen, Mary Carr, Tony Larkin, Frank Keane and Margaret Mc Carthy
Former members were Mairead Condon, Jeane Moloney, Sheila Sheehan and Liam Carroll.