On 21st April 1952, Sr McEvoy, Prioress of St Mary’s wrote to the Department of Education seeking recognition as a special school. She insisted that due to the nature of deafness small class sizes were necessary and that ‘there can be no mass teaching of deaf children, each child has her own separate problem’. She felt that 10 to a class would be ideal but ‘twelve may be allowed under stress’. Sr McEvoy also emphasised the importance of speaking: Another point of difference is the fact that it is a residential school. The time spent outside class – play, meals, etc. – is as important for the education of these children as the time spent in class; our’s is now an up-to-date oral school and in consequence the children must be kept speaking at all times, and not allowed to use sign language. This work is done by a qualified matron. She would have to be included in the recognised staff, as well as a Principal and a Vice Principal.
The Dominican Sisters generally accepted the Department’s proposals, but they were concerned about the high pupil–teacher ratio. In a letter to the Department of 17th September 1952, Sr McEvoy pointed out that there should only be a maximum of 10 deaf children to one teacher in a class. She asserted that this was a ‘matter of universal experience’. She also took issue with the Department treating them as a national school and reminded them that the Sisters had never at any time applied for recognition as a national school and stated that they had ‘declined to do so for many years, because we believe that many of the Department’s regulations for National Schools are incompatible with the proper running of a residential school for deaf children’. She again reminded the Department that ‘Our application was for recognition as a special school, and we understood before making the application that your Department had initiated a scheme for special schools’.