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Dunshaughlin Community College - Co Meath

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MeathVEC > Schools & Colleges > Dunshaughlin Community College - Co Meath > School History

School History


Subsequent to the 1930 Vocational Education Act, a technical school was opened in the Workhouse, Dunshaughlin in January 1933. Mr. Ciaran O’ Connell was the headmaster and there were three other teachers. The subjects taught were Rural Science, Domestic Science, Woodwork, Irish, English, Mathematics, History and Geography. Rev. Fr. Murphy P.P Dunshaughlin gave religious Instruction weekly.

Many of the boys obtained scholarships to Warrenstown Agricultural College and the girls availed of domestic science scholarships to St. Martha’s College, Navan. Some girls went to train as nurses in England while the majority either remained in their own homes or went into domestic work. The boys took up positions as apprentice carpenters, building labourers, farm workers and gardeners or worked on their own farms.

Night classes were also organised in Irish conversation, Irish dancing, Woodwork, Domestic Science and Rural Science. The average attendance in 1945 was 37 pupils in day classes and 30 in night classes.

The school continued in the Workhouse, except for one year in the local courthouse 1950/51, until Mr. Sean Moylan, Minister of Education on 3rd October 1951, officially opened a new two room Vocational School. The attendance in 1951/52 was 38 day pupils. Mr. Gerard Commins was headmaster and there were three other teachers including Liam Carey who taught Woodwork and Drawing. Liam was to give many years sterling service to the school both as teacher and vice principal until his retirement in 1988.

1955/56 saw the school extended to four rooms. The attendance was 54 in that year.

In November 1958 Mr. Commins became C.E.O in Co. Kildare V.E.C and his replacement was John Holland who had been headmaster in Nobber. John’s remarkable 35 years as principal were to see a huge expansion in post primary education in Dunshaughlin

1960 - a metalwork room was built.

1966/67 Introduction of the Free Education Scheme and the Intermediate Certificate Course to Vocational Schools. The attendance was 76.

1967/68 The attendance jumped to 104 pupils and 2 prefabricated classrooms were built.

1968/69 3 further prefab classrooms were added to accommodate the attendance of 149.

1970/71 The Senior Cycle- Leaving Certificate was introduced. The attendance that year was 191 and one further prefab was built.

Feb 1974 A Parent Teacher Association was formed and pressure put on the Department of Education through a number of meetings for the sanction of a Post-Primary School under the auspices of the Co. Meath V.E.C.

3/2/1974 Mr. John Bruton T.D. Minister of State for Education, announced at an Adult Education Seminar in Dunshaughlin that the Department of Education sanctioned the building of a 510 pupil Community type school, with the aid of World Bank Money. It was to be a 24-room school to accommodate 510 pupils and was to include a sports hall. The cost was in the region of .75 million pounds. Subsequently the building of the sports hall was shelved due to an embargo on such buildings for financial reasons.

1974/75 The further prefab classrooms were built to bring the number of prefabs to 12. The number of day pupils in the following year was 312.

Sept 1977 A real landmark as students and teachers moved into the new building.
25/4/1978 Mr. James Tunney T.D. Minister of State for Education officially opened the new school on an 18-acre site. It was called a Community College to differentiate it from a Community School. It was the first Community College in Ireland. That year pupil enrolment was 381, with an Adult Education enrolment of 1100.

1984 / 85 Enrolments reached an all time high of 706 students coming from the following 20 national schools: Dunshaughlin, Culmullen, Ratoath, Rathbeggan, Dunboyne, Kilbride, Ashbourne, Curragha, Cushinstown, Garristown, Ardcath, Rathfeigh, Skryne, Dunsany, Kilmessan, Kiltale, Moynalvey, Kilcloon, Mulhussey and Batterstown. By now there was an accommodation crisis alleviated only by the introduction of the perennial prefabs. Governmental policies of financial rectitude pursued in the 1980s made it impossible to obtain money for a permanent extension.

Feb 1988 Mr Liam Carey retired as Vice Principal and was replaced by Jim Marsden; formerly a metalwork teacher in the school since 1973.

Sept 1993 Arrival of Dan Toole as Principal following on the retirement of John Holland after 35 years of great achievement and expansion. On his retirement John was the longest serving post primary school principal in Ireland. By now such was the growth of population in southeast Meath that two new post primary schools – in Dunboyne and Ashbourne – were opened in the area. Because of this numbers in Dunshaughlin Community College began to ease to a more manageable 600 or thereabouts.

April 1995 Opening of a permanent extension including woodwork, technical drawing and science rooms by Minister for Education, Niamh Breathnach

June 1998 Retirement of Jim Marsden as vice principal after 25 years service to Co Meath VEC. Audrey Scott was appointed for the 1998 –99 school year. Seamus Ryan became Deputy Principal the following year.

Oct 2000 Almost 25 years after it had been first promised the Community Leisure Centre was opened behind the college – an invaluable PE and sports resource to both school and community.

In August 2005 Dan Toole retired and Seamus Ryan was appointed Principal.  Padraic Browne was appointed Deputy Principal.
In January 2005 a new extension of 9 rooms was opened with 6 general classrooms, Art, Computer, and Science rooms.

Currently the school has 67 teachers,13 support staff and 892 students and offers a huge variety of subjects and courses – it has come a long way from those first classes in the Workhouse over 70 years ago
MeathVEC Education Gateway Navan, Ireland.