Newpark Comprehensive School
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|Newpark Comprehensive School
Scoil Chuimsitheach na Páirce Nua
|Newtown Park Avenue, Blackrock
|Number of students||850 |
Newpark Comprehensive School (Irish: Scoil Chuimsitheach na Páirce Nua) is a Protestant, non-fee paying, co-educational comprehensive secondary school under Church of Ireland management, situated on Newtown Park Avenue in Blackrock, County Dublin, Ireland.
Newpark was established in 1972 primarily to provide free post-primary, co-education for the Church of Ireland (COI) community of South County Dublin and North Wicklow. The school recognises its Protestant background and ethos, and acknowledges the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin as its Patron. However, as a co-educational comprehensive school, Newpark welcomes girls and boys of all religious, social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The school describes itself as celebrating the diversity in academic, creative and practical intelligence in its students.
Newpark had a Christian tradition, reflecting its origins within the Protestant tradition, and is under the patronage of the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin. The school was established in 1972, when the Department of Education purchased Avoca & Kingsstown School, an amalgamation of two small private schools. Avoca School in Blackrock was founded in 1892 by A.A.[Albert Augustus] MacDonagh M.A. (1869-1934) who served for a long time as its headmaster, and Kingstown Grammar School in 1894 by the Rev. Matthew Edward Devlin (whose sone John Edward Devlin also served as Kingstons headmaster).
The two founding schools catered primarily for Protestant children in the Blackrock/Dún Laoghaire area, but the schools also welcomed pupils from other religious faiths and from none. In 1968 the original schools amalgamated as Avoca & Kingstown School at Newtownpark Avenue. Four years later it became Newpark, one of the four Comprehensive Schools established by the Government to:
1. Make free second-level education accessible to the Protestant community within an appropriate ethos.
2. Provide educational and recreational facilities for the local community.
3. Act as centres for educational innovation.
Newpark has a specific obligation to the Protestant community of south Dublin/north Wicklow, and this is reflected in its special recognition of the National Schools under Protestant management in the catchment area and by the priority given to those enrolling from the Protestant community. Newpark also considers itself a pluralist community; it embraces inclusion in terms of social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. 
The Newpark campus covers 100,543m² (25 acres). The school was centred on a purpose-built prefab-style block, opened in 1974, but also used two large houses, "Melfield" and "Belfort" (Referred to as the Red-Brick by students), a purpose-built extension to Belfort (The D/F Building), a gate lodge and other ancillary rooms.. In 2015 a new school building was opened to students and many of the ancillary rooms were demolished leaving only Belfort and Melfield standing from the original plan.
Sport at Newpark
Hockey has been a mainstay sport at Newpark Comprehensive School from its inception until today. Newpark's success in hockey culminated in the 1996 - 1997 season, when Newpark became the first hockey team from the south of Ireland to win an all Ireland trophy. Hockey at Newpark has had its ups and downs since then. Struggling with funding and bureaucracy, the long held dream of a water based pitch at Newpark was finally realized in 2005, some 15 years after the idea was first conceived. Hockey in Newpark, with the support of the Avoca Hockey Club, has been undergoing a revival since then.
In 2008 the Newpark Senior Boys won the Leinster (B) League. In 2009 the hockey at the school still continues to grow. This is evident from the u13 boys who won the league, beating St. Killians in the final 10-0, continuing the revival. In 2010, the 1st year (u13) girls won the A league beating St. Andrews 1-0 in the final. The same team (now minor/2nd years) won it again in 2011 beating Mt Anville 2-1 in the final. This is the most promising bunch of players the school has seen in many years and this bodes well for the future.
Rugby is played solely by boys in Newpark at every age level. The Senior team has held the McMullen Cup since 2007 and was promoted to the Leinster Schools Senior Cup for 2010, entering the fray with a match against St. Mary's College on 2 February 2010.
Basketball is also played at Newpark by both boys and girls at every age level, from 1st year to 6th year.
The tradition of teaching at Newpark can be traced back more than a century. Avoca School came into existence in 1891, in a small terraced house at Avoca Place in Blackrock. Three years later in 1894 Kingstown School was founded on York Road. They were both privately owned schools, providing a unique form of education for children from the ages of four to eighteen, and were imbued with the personalities of the founding figures:
- The Devlins, father and son, at Kingstown
- The McDonagh family (A.J. founded the school, his sons were the cornerstone of the school's great bowling and hockey traditions; his daughter, Ida, taught French until the early 1960s)
- The Parkers, Cyril and Cerise, who pioneered so much in Irish education (the use of IQ tests, sex education, musical appreciation, the formation of one of the country's first Parent-Teacher Associations)
- John Draper, Michael Classon, and John Harris (subsequently headmaster of Wesley College), who brought the two schools together in 1968 and managed the transition from private secondary to state comprehensive school, Newpark, which opened its doors in September 1972
Other sections of Newpark
Newpark Music Centre
Founded in 1978 to provide much needed music school facilities in south Dublin, Newpark Music Centre now caters for over 1000 students and is one of the largest public music schools in Dublin. While the emphasis is on learning music for enjoyment, students and choirs from the Music Centre have been extremely successful in competitions throughout the country. All exam syllabi are covered up to and including diploma level and several specialised courses not available in other music schools are offered.
As a founder member of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ), Newpark Music Centre established its Jazz and Contemporary Music Department in 1986 and is now recognised as the primary centre for jazz and jazz related music education in the country. The staff is drawn from the greatest performers and teachers from Ireland and abroad, ensuring that students are kept up to date with the latest musical techniques, concepts and trends.
Newpark Sports Centre
Newpark Sports Centre was built in 1973 with the sole purpose of providing a modern Physical Education facility for the pupils attending Newpark.
Since then, the centre has developed into a multi-purpose facility providing an extensive range of activities for the local community. The aim of which is to provide sport for all with activities for everyone from the crawling toddler to the active retired.
- Water-based artificial Grass Hockey Pitch
- Basketball Courts
- 25m Swimming Pool
- Health Suite
- Fitness Centre
- Multi-use Sports Hall
- Running Track 500m
- Rugby Pitches (off school grounds)
Newpark Adult Education Centre
Newpark Adult Education Centre offers evening and night classes in a wide range of subjects for leisure and personal development.
Notable alumni and teachers
- Jonathan Philbin Bowman, broadcaster
- Niall Connolly, Sinn Féin activist; one of the "Colombia Three"
- John de Courcy Ireland, noted historian and political activist
- Bryan Dobson, RTÉ News
- John Furlong, head of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics
- Fergus Johnston, composer and member of Aosdána
- David McCullagh, RTÉ Journalist, Author
- Mario Rosenstock, actor, comedian
- Dan Sheridan, actor
- David Wilmot, actor
- Irish Department of Education
- "Kelly holds his nerve for Newpark", The Irish Times, 11 December 2008; accessed 2 July 2014.
- Newpark Comprehensive School – official website
- Newpark Adult Education Centre – official website
- Newpark School Sports Centre – official website
- Newpark Music Centre – official website
- Avoca Hockey Club – official website
- "Hanafin welcomes new school building for Newpark Comprehensive School, Blackrock", maryhanafin.ie; accessed 2 July 2014.