In May 1958 a decision was made by the Executive Committee of Cork Polio and General After-Care Association to establish a school for children who would nowadays be classified as children having a ‘mild general learning disability’ on a pilot basis.
Scoil Bernadette was born in an upstairs room at 133 Oliver Plunkett Street on May 28 1958 with 5 boys and 6 girls. Teaching was initially provided by members of the Brothers of Charity. Patrick Kiely was the first Principal and a second teacher was appointed in 1961. By 1961, enrolment was close to 50 and the waiting list was growing. In that year Scoil Bernadette moved to No. 9 Dyke Parade and enrolled only boys from that time on.
In 1971 Scoil Bernadette moved into their brand new custom designed school in Bonnington, Montenotte. The first Principal retired in 1976 and was replaced by Pat Mooney. In 1985 the school changed from being a school for boys from 4 – 18 years of age to a co-educational school for students from 12 – 18 years of age. In September 1991 Don McAleese became Principal on Pat Mooney’s retirement, a post he held with distinction. Ita Teegan became the next permanent principal.