The Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Catholic School

In 1845 a Catholic school opened in Prospect with an enrolment of fifty-five children who were taught by John McFaddin.

In 1852 John Sturgeon was listed as the Catholic School teacher, and then in 1853 Patrick McGrath was the teacher.

After St. Brigid’s Church was opened in 1856 is was used as the school house, at this time Michael O’Dwyer was the teacher. There were 40 pupils enrolled, 22 male and 18 female. The next year William Langton was the teacher. John Dowling was appointed teacher in 1859 but due to incompetence was dismissed. The next teacher was J. Doherty.

In 1962 Archdeacon McEnroe approached the Denominational School Board for five pounds from the book fund, to be used for WC’s for the school. The Archdeacon stated that local contributors had already raised five pounds to be used for the WC’s.

In 1866 Inspector Joseph Reilly reported:

The School was conducted in the Church and had WC’s.

The teacher was provided with a residence.

The school was well stocked with furniture, apparatus, books and maps.

Organisation and discipline was fair, cleanliness was good.

Punctuality was moderate and regularity was bad.

Subjects taught included Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar, Geography, and pupils’ knowledge ranged from bad to fair.

On the day of inspection, only 18 children of the 33 enrolled were present. The teacher could give no explanation for the low attendance. The Inspector found that the children were badly instructed and later that year J. Doherty was transferred and Bridget McNamara became the new teacher.

In 1867 Inspector Coburn made a report for the purpose of obtaining a Certificate to receive Government aid.

He stated:

20 children were present.

Largest number present since present teacher (Mss B. McNamara) took over is 30 (the minimum number of 30 was required to qualify for a Certificate).

The School is conducted in a Church. Well built and commodious.

Good light and ventilation.

Furniture, books and apparatus – ample, in good condition.

The teacher sometimes uses a monitor.

A marked improvement in the conduct of the children sine the present teacher took over.

Miss McNamara resigned because of low attendances and the nominated Miss C. Finn to replace her.

It is believed that the School did receive the Certificate, but that it was withdrawn and Government aid for the School was lost when Miss Finn was proposed as teacher. This was reported in 1867:

“In the case of the R.C. School at Prospect the Council declined to appoint a teacher recommended by the Local Board because the number of R.C. children was only 19, those belonging to the Church of England being 20.”

The Prospect Public School opened in 1867 and it seems that the Catholic School closed about this time.

Source: Faith of our father, living still, Pamela Tromp

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