Free Post-Primary Education
The next major influence on St. Nathy’s was the introduction of the Free Post-Primary Education scheme which came into operation in September 1967. Gradually the number of day boys increased as fees were paid by the Department of Education and also resulting from the provision of free school transport for students who resided more than three miles from the nearest post-primary school. The effect was that enrolment of about 200 boarders in 1967 declined to 170 in 1976 while, in the same period, day boys increased to 136, for a total of 306. All classrooms were stretched to capacity and additional accommodation was sought.
The temporary solution was the provision of three prefabricated classrooms. The first was located in the area between the Old College and the Garden. In 1975 M. O’Carroll and Associates, Roscommon designed a prefab unit of two classrooms and cloak room which were erected in the Garden between the Oratory and the toilets. As well as an expansion in student enrolment there was also an expansion in the curriculum and steps were taken to have Mechanical Drawing and Woodwork taught for the Intermediate Certificate. This also involved co-operation with Roscommon V.E.C. and Ballaghaderreen Vocational School. An arrangement was made whereby the College and the Vocational School shared their specialist teachers as both schools expanded their curriculum range of available subjects. From 1964 such co-operation had enabled Agricultural Science to be taught in the College.