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Jayden Conway Wood (5) performing the official opening of the new Ark School with Dr Liam Carroll. Photograph by Kieran Clancy.

Limerick Hospital opens Children’s School Ark

Clare children who are seriously ill and require long stays at University Hospital Limerick can now be educated in state-of-the-art facilities on the hospital campus.
Dr Liam Carroll, founding member and former chair of the Children’s Ark School Board of Management, and five-year-old, Jayden Conway Wood officially opened the new purpose built Children’s Ark School.
The school provides multi-denominational primary and secondary level education for students attending University Hospital Limerick. This new facility comprises a large classroom for primary students, a second classroom for secondary students, toilets, office space and an outdoor learning area.
The Department of Education and Skills has approved the installation of 100MB fibre broadband to enable access to the most up to date technology to support the education of the students.
Managed by a board of management, its two teachers, Mary Carr and Margaret McCarthy are members of HOPE, the organisation for hospital teachers in Europe.
Speaking at the opening, Ann Doherty, CEO, UL Hospitals, said she was very proud of having such a quality school on site. She acknowledged and thanked the board of management and their staff for all the work they have done to make this school a reality.
The Children’s Ark School was originally the brainchild of Dr Liam Carroll, consultant paediatrician, who got sanction from the Department of Education and Skills to establish a school to cater for the ongoing education of children in University Hospital Limerick.
It commenced in 2006 and originally operated from the dining room of the Sunshine Ward in the Children’s Ark Unit.
Frank Keane, chair of the board of management, described the new school as a “wonderful new development”, encompassing the best available information technology to assist in providing continuity for those young people unlucky enough to be ill and requiring hospital care.
“Meeting the young person’s educational needs is a vital part of the holistic approach required to put them on the road to recovery,” he said.
Mr Keane also acknowledged the hard work of everyone involved and thanked his predecessor Dr Liam Carroll, “who was the true visionary who had the foresight to get the concept of education while in hospital off the ground back in December 2006”.
The school’s ethos is that “no child in the Mid West will be at a disadvantage educationally if in UL Hospital”.

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