E-learning and full syllabus for first years at new Dunamase College in Portlaoise

Parents learn more about Dunamase College Portlaoise at public meeting

E-learning and full syllabus for first years at new Dunamase College in Portlaoise
By Stan Henderson

First years at Portlaoise's secondary school will take all subjects in year one and will also use e-learning at school the public meeting with parents in its temporary home in the old tech on Railway Street hears.

Dunamase College will be the first of its kind in the country offering second level education through both Irish and English under the same roof.

A joint patronage between Foras Pátrúnachta and the Laois/Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) is in place which will govern the college.

Over 150 parents attended the meeting to find out what services and facilities will be on offer to children when the college opens its doors on Friday 1 September this year.

Speaking at the meeting the newly appointed principal of Dunamase College Aoife Elster.

“My background is in mathematics and science. We will be interactive with best practice from around the world and bring them here to Dunamase College. We will use blended learning which will involve the use of tablets, virtual learning, online resources and collaborative learning.

“We will have six classes per day on Mondays to Thursdays and four on Fridays which will run for one hour each with only 20 minutes of that time for tablet use. Then it will be out with the copies and pens. It is extremely important to keep the ability to write. Your children can’t go in to do exams if they cannot write. The first year will be a sampling year for students where they get to sample every subject before choosing their 10 subjects for second year.

“Most books will be put on-line The college will have multi-diversity and educate together ethos and will teach about various religions but not tied to any particular one but with respect to all,” she said.

She said the mental health and well-being will be a big priority as will working with students with special needs.

Given the Irish language aspect, lll teachers who wish to apply to the school for teaching posts must be fluent in Irish and specialists in their subjects.

Several questions were asked by parents regarding the limited space in the temporary home of Dunamaise College for sports. One lady asked how physical education and sports could take place without any grounds to play or practice on.

Joe Cunningham of LOETB answered by saying that the College will have the use of the Towerhill playing fields and will avail of the Leisure Centre’s state of the arts facilities which are only a stone throw away from the school.

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley is a member of the ETB and organised a door to door campaign during last summer with expression of interest forms for a secondary Gaelscoil in Portlaoise.

“We have come a long way from the olden days when the Gaelscoil was in the old prison officer’s club. It is brilliant to see that the patronage is being shared and that parents and students now have a choice to continue their education through either Irish or English,” she said.

The information required to enrol your child is the completed enrolment form, a copy of the child’s birth certificate, their PPS number, their language preference any educational reports and/or assessments regarding any special needs provisions that may be required.

The next meeting will take place in the school on Wednesday 26 April at 7.30pm where completed application forms can be accepted. Should you require enrolment forms contact the LOETB offices directly opposite the Portlaoise Leisure Centre on 057 8621352.

Any queries should be directed to

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