About Us

School of the Divine Child, Cork 

also known as SDC Lavanagh or Lavanagh School

The School of the Divine Child, Lavanagh Centre, Cork is situated in Ballintemple village. Our co-educational school is a specialist school for students with physical and multiple disabilities including pupils with complex medical conditions.  Our curriculum is differentiated to suit a variety of learning styles. We provide a primary and second level curriculum.

We believe that our Mission is to guide all students to achieve their full potential so that they can participate actively within their local community as well as developing attitudes and skills for life-long learning.  Self esteem and a feeling of wellbeing is very important to us.

The in-school team of Teachers and SNAs work together daily to provide a high standard of education in a creative environment. The School Nurse Fiona Crowley and her team help us take care of every pupil. The parents association led by Chair AnnMarie Egan also support our work.

Our Team members are:
Dawn Barry, Fiona Barry, Deborah Casey, Stella Collier, Eamon Connolly, Jo Flynn, Stella Griffin, Maryanne Hawkes, Ciara Hourihan, Joan Humphreys, Mary Hurley, Maura Kavanagh, Noreen Linehan, Katie Lynch, Shane Lynch, Maria Martin, Pauline Meade, Eimear Merritt, Shane Griffin, Noelle Noonan, Leticia Ocampos, Vincent O’Brien, Nicole O’Connell, Lauren O’Halloran, Nora O’Leary, Pauline O’Neill,  Oran O’Reilly, Sarah O’Sullivan, Suzanne Schonknecht, Fiona Thomas, Jennifer Treacy, Anne Walsh, Muireann White, Ruth White, Susan Wright.

Download our School Evaluation here


The Bishop of Cork and Ross is the Patron and Trustee.

Partners and Friends

Many organisations and businesses in the Cork area support our work including Mainport Holdings, Biomarin, Enable Ireland, Staff, Retired staff and Management of Cork Prison, Soroptimist International (Cork), PC Systems, Comyn Kelleher Tobin, Niall Keely and Associates Ltd, Emelie and Ger FitzGibbon, The O’Neill Family, TOTEM, Storicreative.

We share learning partnerships with CIT, UCC, The Arts Council, Cork Education Support Centre, Music Mash Up, Scoil Ursula, Cork Special Schools, Beaumont Boys and Girls National School, Douglas Community School and others.

The School is an active member organisation of NABMSE (National Association of Board of Management in Special Education), CPSMA, Cork Music Partnership and IPPN.

Board of Management: School of the Divine Child.

Dave Ronayne (Chair), Miriam Murphy, Jim O’Shaughnessy (Hon Treasurer), Kate Creedon, Michelle McHale, Diarmuid Dorney, Fiona Thomas (Principal), Ciara Hourihan (Deputy Principal).

The School of the Divine Child opened in Grattan Street in 1959 to meet the educational needs of children with Cerebral Palsy. In 1966, a site was purchased at Lavanagh House Ballintemple. The Department of Education provided a grant and the newly built school opened in Lavanagh in 1971.

The School of the Divine Child has always had an involvement with the development of information technology since its first participation in a pilot project on the use of Computer in Schools in 1984. Later projects included Eagle Eyes Camera Mouse project led by Boston College (USA) and supported by the Special Education Support Service (Ireland). In recent years we have developed a partnership with Safe Care Technologies and consult with them regularly on communication and assistive technologies for living. In music we use SoundBeam, Magic Flute, Garage Band and other technologies. Staff receive training through Safe Care technologies and through Enable Ireland’s service.

Community is an important part of our School life and classes and individual pupils can be seen involved in projects in Ballintemple village and nearby Ardfoyle and Pairc Ui Chaoimh. We foster close links with many mainstream schools at primary and second level. We are active participants in the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival and work closely with students attending University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology. Past school projects have involved partnerships through Comenius and cooperation North funding.

Horticulture, Home Economics, Music, Lego and Construction projects play an important part in our curriculum. The school offers both a primary and second level curriculum which is differentiated to suit students’ individual learning styles and abilities. Aistear and Numicon are taught at primary level. At second level we offer Junior Certificate, Junior Certificate Schools Programme, and JCT (Junior Cycle) courses at levels 1 and 2.

Music Partners can be seen here

Read about Mary O’Hanlon and her contribution to our school.

  • Our school Links programme is designed to ensure that we engage with a wide range of education partners at primary, secondary and third level.
  • Shared Learning Experiences – The School of the Divine Child has established links with local primary and secondary schools as well as with UCC and CIT. These links allow our students the opportunity to visit other schools for social and curricular activities. Students from second level and third level colleges attend the School of the Divine Child on work experience.
  • The school is located next to the Atlantic pond which is a useful facility for environmental awareness lessons.
  • As part of the Music Mash Up Programme our students perform with mainstream schools on a wide variety of stages.
  • A number of our students are involved in sports activities organised by the Cork City Sports partnership.  Learn more here.