Our School Ethos
St. Mary’s specialises in meeting the educational needs of students between the ages of four and eighteen years with Moderate Learning Disabilities; Autism; Challenging Behaviour and Severe to Profound Learning Disabilities. Curriculum and organisational content is child centred and designed to accommodate individual learning styles so that all students may experience success.
The staff at St. Mary’s is committed to creating a structured, trusting and caring environment which enables dynamic teaching and learning experiences. Post primary students are offered vocational training in practical subjects as well as independent life skills.
1. Aim to create a happy, safe and caring atmosphere where each
individual/child is empowered to achieve their potential.
2. To provide a safe, secure and happy environment where all children
will be considered as individuals to develop each child’s full
potential in partnership with all those involved in their everyday
3. To enable our pupils to reach their potential in a safe, happy and
4. To have a happy, welcoming environment with respect and
tolerance for every individual where the children have the
opportunity to reach their full potenti.al in a supportive and
5. Provide a caring, stimulating atmosphere which leads into a
positive, safe learning environment that encourages independence
and equality for each Student.
6. To fully realise the potential of each child in terms of social,
personal, moral, cultural, intellectual and physical development and
therefore improve the quality of the child’s life.
7. To promote learning as an enjoyable process which encourages the
pupils to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered
throughout their school life which will equip them for adulthood.
St. Mary’s School is dedicated to providing for the Special Educational Needs of pupils from 4 – 18 years, assessed to have a Moderate, Severe or Profound General Learning Disability.
Within these categories we also cater for:
• Pupils on the Autistic spectrum
• Pupils with physical disabilities
• Pupils who are sensorially impaired i.e. hearing, visual or other
• Pupils who have previously attended mainstream primary school
• St. Mary’s is open to dual enrolment
• St. Mary’s School offers a Pre-Vocational Training Programme for students 16-18 years
In 1977 Fr. Andrew Farrell founded St. Mary’s special School in Athlumney opposite the ruins of Athlumney Castle. The school was established to meet the needs and services of students with learning disabilities in the area. In 2000, it relocated to its present site in the old village of Johnstown.