Shock as landmark boarding school - Cistercian College Roscrea - to close

Pat Somers

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Pat Somers

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pat@leinsterexpress.ie

Cistercian College Roscrea to close

Cistercian College Roscrea

One of the midlands foremost boarding schools is to close.

Cistercian College Roscrea, which has operated as a boarding school for 112 years and which numbers former Taoiseach Brian Cowen amongst its alumni, will close this summer.

The announcement came from the trustees of the school - the monks of Mount St Joseph Abbey, which is located adjacent to the school.

A letter to pastmen stated that "the last ten years have seen a 45% decrease in student enrolment in the College.

"This drop in enrolment, which was undoubtedly exacerbated by the recession, has impacted on all areas of the College, not least on its finances. Great efforts have been made and many initiatives have been introduced with a view to increasing student enrolment but with little or no effect. The reality is that in the 20 years up to 2009 the College had an average enrolment of 300 boys. The current enrolment is 167.

"Indications were that enrolment for 2017/18 would have been about 150.

"Since 2010 the monastic community has provided significant funding to keep Cistercian College Roscrea open. The monastic community does not have the resources to continue to subvent the College.

"For the academic year 2017/18 there will be no classes available in the College for existing students of 1st, 3rd and Transition Years. The Co-Managers will enter into consultation with the parents of 2nd and 5th Years to gauge the demand for the possible continuation of classes and boarding facilities for these years up to June 2018.

"This announcement will have no impact on the operation of the College between now and June 2017.

"The College will work with parents of 1st, 3rd and Transition Year students to facilitate a smooth transfer to other schools.

"Looking back over the last 112 years we are justifiably proud of what Cistercian College Roscrea has achieved.

"The decision to close Cistercian College has not been an easy one for the monastic community to make."