Old Conna Q & A
This is a listing of anticipated questions and answers regarding the relocation of John Scottus Secondary School to Old Conna House, Ferndale Road, Shankill. This is by no means exhaustive and we will update this page on an ongoing basis with information and feedback as it arises. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for Secondary matters and PrimaryOldConna@johnscottus.ie for Primary matters.
1. Why is the Secondary School relocating?
John Scottus School was founded over 30 years ago with a mission to bring the philosophies of the East to the education of young hearts and minds in the West. Our vision is for John Scottus to be an inspiring centre of learning that invites our students, parents, teachers and broader society to come to know their true self. Since 1986, we have had many homes including a parents’ sitting room in Churchtown, a mews on Baggot Street, a grand old masonic girls school in Ballsbridge (now Bewleys / Clayton Hotel ) and our current buildings on the classically beautiful Northumberland Road and our nearby sister premises on Morehampton Road.
You will be aware that facilities at Morehampton Road have been limiting the potential of the secondary school and the experience of our students and teachers for a while now. We have been searching far and wide for a campus to not only house the school in its current form but one that allows space for our school to expand into what we are capable of fully becoming. Our school board has spent 20 years viewing and assessing properties of a certain size and purpose and now we are delighted to have finally found a place for the secondary school to call ‘home’. Previously known as Aravon, this magnificent site in Old Conna has been used as a school for over twenty years since 1892 and holds an educational legacy that will enable John Scottus School to further realise our mission.
We truly believe that our decision to relocate the Secondary School is a huge opportunity for John Scottus in the longer term as our new Old Conna campus will provide the facilities, space and environment that will serve to transform the lives of our students and our wider community.
2. Where is the new location?
OLD CONNA CAMPUS – there is a large house (centre of picture) and a single story building (right of picture). It is situated 4 km from Bray, 4 km from Shankill, 11 km Carrickmines, 15 km from Dundrum and 20 km from Dublin city centre.
Old Conna Campus is a Tudor house built around 1860 with a modern Nordic-style seven classroom single storey building which was constructed in the mid 1990s, located south of the mansion. It sits on an elevated tree-surrounded site of 14 acres with views stretching out to Dublin Bay.
3. What are the facilities at Old Conna?
Our new campus at Old Conna, which at 12000 sq ft has about 50% more space than Morehampton Road, offers rich and holistic educational opportunities for our students of all ages. It hosts fantastic facilities including exceptional sports grounds, over 25 classrooms, administration accommodation, staff room, dining room with kitchen facilities and car parking all on 14 acres of forest and parklands. There is also an all-weather pitch and an outdoor swimming pool on site which we hope to include in the refurbishment plans to maximise all of the potential resources on campus. The site also commands beautiful views of Dublin Bay and the mountains of Wicklow and has good local transport links.
On the site, there are 17 large classrooms, greater that 35m2, which is the largest size room in Morehampton Road and a further 14 rooms of various sizes and purposes.
Currently, our sports are played in Herbert Park in dry weather or in Pembroke in wet weather, all of which costs the school to partake in. In Old Conna, we will have an all-weather pitch which, although it requires refurbishment, once completed will be available for practice both by ourselves and for hosting other schools and competitions on.
As we are moving into a much larger premises, obviously this comes with its own extra responsibility. To support these expanding needs, we will be putting a few new systems in place to ensure the utmost care and safety of our students and faculty.
Student Care: we have a number of teachers qualified in First Aid who, together with the administrative support and their class teachers, will continue to provide our students with exceptional care and supervision.
Security: as the campus is significantly bigger than our current premises, John Scottus will employ a full-time caretaker to keep an eye on the grounds and provide security as needed. To support the transition to a larger area, John Scottus will undertake a comprehensive Health & Safety review to ensure the safety of all our students and staff in Old Conna.
4. What is the relocation project plan?
We have put strong measures in place to ensure the smooth running of this project.
Working Groups: We have experienced professionals to lead working groups for this relocation project and we would love you to join these. As teachers, parents and students, your voice, help and support will be key for this important transition.
Q & A: This website Q & A will be updated on an ongoing basis
Leaflet: We have designed some information brochures to start acquainting yourself with the Old Conna campus
Communication: The email address email@example.com is where you can contact our team with any other questions or queries. These will be addressed personally and shared, as appropriate, here on the OLD CONNA page www.johnscottus.ie/oldconna . There is also the opportunity for every parent to meet with the principal, Dr Declan Kelly. Please contact Margaret or Siobhan from the office to arrange a time..
Project Plan: A comprehensive Relocation Plan is being prepared for discussion with parents at a specially convened meeting after mid-term. The issues of relocation, transport, special provision for examination classes (especially 6th year students) and further development programmes will be addressed at this meeting among many other considerations, queries and issues that will no doubt arise. Note: The welfare and wellbeing of your children, our students, will be the primary concern in this transition. Please keep us informed of any concerns or suggestions you may have.
5. What are the short, medium and long term plans for John Scottus Primary School?
Short (0-2 year): Life will continue as normal in JSPS with Junior Infants to 4th Class continuing their education at Northumberland Road 5th & 6th class will remain in 72 Morehampton Road until 2018. In August 2017 a new fee paying Junior School will open in Old Conna, receiving Junior Infants.
Medium (2-5 years): Over the next two years, we will be working to find permanent housing for the whole primary school, including 5th & 6th classes. We have a team in place who are scouting for suitable properties in the area and your input in this matter would be greatly appreciated. (Please contact your Parent Rep).
Long (5 years +): The plan is for John Scottus Primary School to have a fully integrated facility both in Dublin city centre and in our Old Conna campus where Junior Infants up to 6th Class are all resident.
6. What are the short, medium and long term plans for John Scottus Secondary School?
Short (0-2 year): The school is remaining in Morehampton Road for the current academic year. We will be moving to Old Conna during next summer, to open for the school term starting in August 2017. The focus between now and then will be on making the transition and relocation process as professional and smooth as possible.
Middle (2-5 years): We expect that the transition will be complete and by 2018/2019 we will be enjoying the benefits of our stunning new location and be integrated into the local community.
Long (5 years +): We see John Scottus at home in Old Conna and known as a school with an architecturally inspiring building, the best of facilities to support curriculum, extra-curricular opportunities and for the holistic development of students and teachers.
7. What is the vision for John Scottus School in 2025?
Our vision is for John Scottus School to be a rich learning environment that enhances students lives and the lives of our wider community and society.
We see our school producing graduates with the strength of character to lead meaningful lives that positively impact those around them.
We see our school as a school giving students cultural excellence through high quality music, literature, theatre, art and humanities.
We see our school continuing to successfully pioneer mindfulness-based education in Ireland.
We see our school as a centre of excellence in learning and teaching that cultivates a love of learning and supports students in developing their unique gifts and talents.
8. How will this affect my child?
The new campus will offer an ideal learning environment with:
- More space
- Better facilities
- Close contact with nature
- Enclosed campus
As travel to the location will be a primary concern, measures will be put in place to facilitate as much as possible transport to and from the new campus.
This measures include:
(a) Regular and frequent feeder bus services
(b) A re-organisation of the morning timetable as needed, to best facilitate students.
The planning for the following academic year will be created throughout this term so teachers and students will have plenty of time to learn the set up in the new building. The plan will be drawn up in consultation with the teachers and students in consideration of the layout of the new building and where classrooms would go in order to maximise ease of movement around building for each class, according to their timetable.
The consultation with the student, teacher and parent Working Groups will be designed to address any concerns as they arise and implement responses. For example, we will be putting on buses from Morehampton Rd and adjusting morning timetable to accommodate students and teachers.
As with any fresh start, there will be a period of transition while everybody gets used to the new surroundings and we can expect an element of excitement and disruption in the early days.
What about the disruption caused to students doing exams? Some concerns may arise in relation to the exams years and in particular the 6th years. All measures will be taken to ensure that the transition to the new location will be as seamless as possible. Learning and teaching will continue at the same high standard, personalised mentoring programs will be put in place to build on individual strengths and transport arrangements put in place to facilitate the students in every way possible.
9. Will this have an economic impact?
At this stage, it is not expected to have any change in fees even though the facilities and resources will be improving dramatically.
10. What are the transportation links?
For parents with children in the Primary and Secondary School, morning drop-offs can continue as usual. There will be buses going from Morehampton Road every morning and returning to Morehampton Road every afternoon. Travelling in and out of Dublin will be against the rush hour traffic.
The transport links to Old Conna are very good. The DART and LUAS line are a short distance away and the M50 motorway is a 5 minute drive.
The distances to the LUAS and DART are as follows:
- Distance from Dart in Bray, 3.8 km, 10 min drive
- Distance from Dart in Shankill, 4.7 km, 9 min drive
- Distance from Luas in Cherrywood, 5.5 km, 10 min drive
- Distance from proposed new Luas stop in Crinken Lane , 3km, 5 min drive, 10 min walk
To facilitate students coming to school we will offer a feeder bus service from the Dart in Shankill and Luas Stop in Cherrywood before school starts and after schools finishes.
In addition we will run a bus service running from the City centre picking students up a various locations
In addition, if there is demand we will run a bus pick up service from locations along the M50 route.
A draft of a sample schedule for the bus routes can be seen here: TransportSchedule Draft-29-03-17. It shows the estimated journey times from various pick up points and we will be consulting with parent and students on the most suitable timings.
Will the buses be supervised?
Yes, there will be supervision on the buses from the public transport links and from Morehampton Road. All teachers and staff are welcome to avail of the bus and if they are getting the bus and acting as supervisor, they will be compensated accordingly.
11. How will this affect me as a parent/carer?
The biggest change to affect you as a parent is likely to be rearranging transport to and from school for your child and the timing of activities in the early evening, given they will be back in Dublin city approximately an hour later than when the school was based in Donnybrook.
We are aware that you have, very likely, been making decisions for your family, work, childcare and home based on the location of your children’s school and now that our Secondary School’s location is going to change, there will be a lot of reorganising ahead for you. We want to deeply apologise for this and assure you that we are doing our absolute best to accommodate this considerable transition in whatever way we can.
12. How will this affect the local area in Shankill?
For parents and students living in the surrounding South Dublin/ North Wicklow area and not currently enrolled in John Scottus, we will be open for applications to the Secondary School straight away. As we are only two minutes off the M50/M11 motorway, we envisage the school becoming a fresh option for interested parents all along the M50/M11 corridor and southwards throughout Wicklow.
13. What amenities are on campus?
Old Conna is a self-contained campus on which we will develop all the amenities needed to fully serve the school community.
Shop: based on preliminary conversations and interest, we shall likely open a tuck shop on site. This will be kept in line with JSS values offering homemade and healthy options and can also serve as an entrepreneurial hub for the students. Book and uniform sales can also be included in the shop.
Canteen: the new campus has a full canteen and dining hall. We are currently having a full review of our catering and are using our relocation as an opportunity to redesign our dining needs and offerings.
14. What refurbishments are needed on campus?
The development of the campus in OC will get underway soon and the practical refurbishment in the short term and long term will include:
To take place before classes start in August 2017:
- Decoration work
- New flooring
- Plumbing work
- Electrical work
- General repair work
- Grounds work
More long term refurbishment includes:
- Maintenance of windows
- New synthetic surface
- New Dining Area
- New Sports Hall
- Additional classrooms
To facilitate the long term development of the campus, fundraising initiatives will start in the coming months which the school will need your input and help with.
15. When can we see the new school?
Old Conna house itself is now being refurbishment and by appointment it will be possible to arrange a visit to the campus.