Presentation Secondary School, Sexton Street
Our school is a Christian community which welcomes students in the tradition of Nano Nagle, foundress of the Presentation Order. A primary aim of our school is the pursuit of academic excellence. We seek to develop the full potential of each person; intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, physical and creative. To achieve this, the school strives to provide an education environment suited to the needs of each individual, within the demands of a changing world.
The Presentation Secondary School in Sexton Street, Limerick traces its roots back to the Presentation Convent Primary School. This School was founded by the Presentation Sisters who came to Limerick in 1837. Later that same year they began to teach in their new Primary School where they continued to offer Primary School education for many decades. In those days, most pupils left school at the age of fourteen while very few remained on to do Intermediate Certificate or Matriculation.
With the passing of the Intermediate Act, the Primary School in Sexton Street, like many other primary schools around the country prepared students for the Intermediate Certificate examination. The term “Secondary Top” was used to describe Primary Schools that offered Intermediate Certificate. Sexton Street was designated a “Secondary Top” in 1928.
Successive local inspectors encouraged the Presentation Sisters to form a Secondary School. In 1955, this brave new step was taken. Sexton Street school was unique in Ireland in that it offered the Leaving Certificate programme only. The Department of Education sanctioned the establishment of the school in 1955.
Schooling was free in the Secondary Top but fees were required by students in the Secondary School. These fees were quite modest but those who had difficulty in paying had their fees considerably reduced or totally waived. Gradually more and more students were enrolled until in a few years the School became a full Secondary School.
The present two storey flat roofed building on the street was approved and grant aided by the Department of Education in 1971. The Sports Complex was added in 1976. This was paid for entirely by the Presentation Sisters in Limerick City. Throughout the seventies, eighties and early nineties the enrolment in the Secondary School was very high. Extra accommodation had to be added resulting in prefabricated classrooms. St. Nessan’s junior primary school building, no longer needed for primary education due to a declining population in the immediate environs of the school, was added to the plant.
Two new Science Laboratories and a Computer Laboratory were added to the School in 2000 and a lunch room for the students in 2001. Through an access grant a lift was put in place to facilitate the requirements of students with special needs.
Flexibility and curricular innovation have been the hallmarks of the Secondary School in Sexton Street. Over the years the school has catered for students of all levels of intellectual ability. A very wide range of subjects has always been offered to that students might attain their highest potential. Special attention has been given to those who struggle academically, or who have other gifts not met by traditional programmes.
In practical terms, the school has piloted many programmes for those students who excelled in ways other than academic. Examples of these are Mini-Company, Social & Environment Programme, (S.E.S.P.), Community Based Learning, (C.B.L.), Senior Certificate, Leaving Certificate Applied, L.C.A.), learning through the use of computers (laptop Inittative).
When enrolment began to decline in the late nineteen nineties the concept of Further Education was introduced by the Department of Education. The Principal and staff took the initiative of providing Post Leaving Certificate courses ranging from Information Processing and other computer based programmes to Child Care, Community & Health Services, Travel & Tourism, Sport & Recreation, Introduction to Nursing etc.
These courses offer second chance education to some and help the less academic to gain entrance to third level colleges by an alternate route. The school is the largest national provider of Further Education in the voluntary sector at present. It is co-educational and caters for many nationalities and this offers an enriching multicultural experience to the Irish students.
The school also runs Back to Education Initiative, (BTEI) and a huge variety of night classes. The school facilities are used to the utmost. The Home/School/Community/Liaison programme is also on offer. Parents are always welcome to come and engage in learning through the different courses organised for them by the local Home/School/Community/Liasion team.
In conclusion, the teaching and ancillary staffs are the greatest asses to the school. This is evident from the caring and person-centered approach to education experienced by all the students.