St. Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow is an all girls voluntary secondary school with over 570 students, under the trusteeship of CEIST. It is the only all-girls post-primary school in the area and caters for all abilities by offering a wide selection of courses.
Although the Sisters of Mercy came to Mallow in 1845 and the Primary School was established almost immediately, it was not until 1932 that St. Mary’s Secondary School was founded. As early as 1903, as evidenced by the Convent records, the need for a secondary school was recognised and acknowledged. Not until 1932, however, was it possible for the Sisters to satisfy this so-obvious need.
The old “1850” National School building, which had been vacated when the new Primary School had been built in 1911, was early in 1932, prepared and fitted for the accommodation of the group of Primary school leavers anxious to continue their education. When the new school year began on August 29th 1932, St. Mary’s came into being. There were two teachers; Miss Kitty Whelton, (later Mrs. P. McSweeney), and a young, newly professed Sister, Sr M. Benedicta, and there were 28 students enrolled in the school.
Growth and Success
The story of the school in the next decades is a story of gradual growth, of much development, and of many academic successes. The original two-storey building had to be re-constructed many times to accommodate growing numbers and finally in 1966 it was decided to add an extension. A sudden spurt of growth in the numbers of pupils in the late sixties (due partly to the Free Education and School Transport Schemes) necessitated the building of new blocks of classrooms in the field in front of the Convent.
In 1970 the new extensions were meant to provide for an enrolment of 400+ students. More extensions were built in 1974, 1982, and 1987 to accommodate ever increasing numbers.