The History of Mercy Education in Castleblayney
The Sisters of Mercy came to Castleblayney in 1905 and opened a school in New Street, but the story of the present site of the Convent is a much older one. It was formally the site of the thriving brewery, lending its name to the old name of the location – Brewery Hill. In 1767 it was owned by a Mr Lewen. He sold the site to Captain Henry, agent to the 10th Lord Blayney. Capt. Henry’s granddaughter married a Dr Gilmour and the site remained in her possession until 1903 when Canon Meegan, P.P., purchased it for the Sisters of Mercy. The foundation stone of the Convent was laid on August 31, 1910. The building was designed by G.G Mc Donnell, architects, Belfast.
Today Scoil na gCailíní -the girls primary school situated on Laurel Hill, Castleblayney is adjacent to the Convent of Mercy. The school occupies two floors of the building, which was built by the Mercy Sisters in 1912. The school is known locally as the Convent of Mercy Girls School.
Scoil na gCailíní continues to preserve the Mercy tradition of education aiming to develop each girl to her full potential – academically, spiritually, socially and emotionally, in a spirit of mercy and community.
There are currently five mainstream classes, three Learning Support / Resource / SEN teachers and two Special Needs Assistants in the school. A Home School Liaison Co-ordinator and project worker are shared with The Junior School and Scoil na mBuachailli as is the School Completion Co-ordinator.
As a follow on school for the Junior School. first class girls transfer to us for their senior primary school education.
Scoil na gCailini is a designated Déis Band 2 School and receives the following supports:
- Access to Home School Community Liaison services
- Access to Schools Meals Programme
- Access to range of supports under School Completion Programme
- Access to literacy/numeracy support such as Reading Recovery, Maths Recovery, First Steps, Ready Set Go Maths
- Access to planning supports
- Access to a range of professional development supports.
Parents are encouraged to become involved in the life of the school and their children’s learning.
Several courses are organised by the H.S.C.L. Co-ordinator including cookery (with a focus on healthy, cost-saving meals), Coffee Mornings , yoga, Maths for Fun and computer classes. Parents are involved in Maths for Fun, Story Sacks and Paired reading initiatives.
The school has developed a strong link with the local Library.
Pastoral care is emphasised in the school. There is a nourishing of the gifts of each child in an atmosphere of respect. The whole School is involved in a Positive Behaviour for Learning called Petal Power. Every girl is assigned a team – Daffodils, Bluebells, Daisies, Tulips, Roses, Sunflowers and are awarded petals for positive behaviour which they accumulate as a team and exchange for rewards like the very sought after homework passes.
Sacramental preparation, involving the home, the school and the parish is undertaken by the teachers and parents through the Do This in Memory programme for First Penance / Eucharist.
The school is involved in the Green Schools Initiative and has recently obtained its fourth Green Flag which was for travel and all children are being reminded and encouraged to walk to school or to park and stride.