A school in Bandon, Co Cork is to accept male students for the first time in its almost 200-year history.

Coláiste na Toirbhirte, which has been an all-girls secondary school since it was founded by the Presentation Sisters in 1829, has begun accepting enrolment for next September as a co-education school, according to the Irish Examiner.

The school currently has 500 pupils, however, principal Mary Galvin said a request has been lodged with the Department of Education seeking an extension on part of its 12-acre site. It is planned the school will have 1,000 students within a few years.

Speaking of how the news has been received by parents, staff and the local community, Ms Galvin said: “There was a sense that it was time. I got a real sense of positivity.”

The principal told C103FM that there has been a shortage of school places in the town in recent years, particularly for boys, leading the department to approach the school’s trustees to ask them to consider changing to a co-ed status.

As part of the move, a number of changes will need to be made to the school building, such as the adaption of toilets and changing rooms, and the design of the new uniform is yet to be finalised.