Board of Management of St Colmcille’s BNS, Swords
Annual Report, 2013/2014
Board of Management 2011-2015
Mr Thomas Shields, Chairperson
Mrs Margaret Mc Kernan, Secretary
Mr Matthew Ladrigan, Treasurer
Mr Joseph Dromgoole, Parents’ Representative
Ms Catherine Vaissier. Parents’ Representative
Fr Peter Mc Carron
Ms Blaithin White, Teachers’ Representative
Mr James Bennett, Principal
Enrolment and Attendance
The attendance figures for 2013-2014 show that the improvement in last year’s figures has been maintained. The attendance monitoring system which among other things involved home visits and sending text messages to targeted parents whose sons has been very poor attenders in 20131/14 has continued to be very effective. A number of pupils achieved full attendance during the year and will be presented with gold certificates from the Education Welfare Board. Total enrolment continues to be a source of serious concern. The enrolment figure on 30 September 2013 was 395, and this represents a decrease of 13 pupils from the previous year. This trend has been flagged for the past six years, and the consequences manifested themselves in this school year when there was a composite class for the first time in many years. Discussions took place with the Parish Priest with regard to the possible re-designation of Boroimhe Estate to St Colmcille’s Parish. This action could have implications with regard to arresting the decline in enrolments.
There has been speculation in the media with regard to the provision of another primary school in Swords, but it would appear to make more sense for the DES to ensure that the existing schools in the area are operating at capacity before engaging in building more schools. There have also been some preliminary discussions with regard to the possibility of re-constituting our school as a co-educational school, but this proposed development will require further research.
Ms Olivia Clinton, RIP
The tragic death of Ms Olivia Clinton, a teacher in our school, on Friday, 17 January 2014 cast a deep shadow on our school community. The school was closed on Monday, 20 January 2014 as a mark of respect and to enable members of the school community to attend the Requiem Mass in Balbriggan. Fr Michael Carey, Parish Administrator, celebrated Mass on Thursday, 23 January and Bishop Raymond Field celebrated Mass on Thursday, 13 March 2014 in memory of Ms Clinton. The Board acknowledges its appreciation of the support which our school community received from Bishop Raymond Field, the priests and parish sister, the staffs of many other schools, the Department of Education and Skills and the wider community since this tragedy. Plans are in place to develop a garden in memory of Ms Clinton, and it is hoped that this work will be completed by the end of the summer vacation.
Ms Sarah Reilly was appointed as a permanent teacher as a replacement for Ms Ciara Gallagher, and Ms Denise Powell replaced the late Ms Clinton. The temporary appointments for 2013-14 were Ms Ciara Reynolds, Ms Leanne Kilkenny and Mr Diarmuid Connell. During 2013-2014, there was a job-sharing arrangement between Ms Orla Murtagh and Ms Caroline Cottell and this will continue in 2014-15. Ms Caitriona Quinn will commence a job sharing arrangement with a school in Galway.
Rosters were put in place to enable pupils from 2nd to 6th Classes to attend Mass on Wednesday of each week. Members of the school community participated in The Do this in Memory programme as part of the preparations for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. V Rev Fr Michael Carey, Parish Administrator, read through and discussed St Luke’s Gospel with pupils from the 6th Classes. Representatives from ACCORD facilitated the RSE day for pupils in 6th Classes. Fr Peter Mc Carron, School Chaplain, oversaw arrangements for the various liturgies which were celebrated throughout the year, and there was a Carol Service on 19 December 2013.
Buildings and Grounds
The new Resource Building was completed in November 2013. The Resource Room at the top of the Hall was divided on a permanent basis. The roof of the school was repaired. An extensive refurbishment of a pre-fabricated building was undertaken during summer 2014. Additional sockets were installed in every classroom. Digital projectors and interactive whiteboards were installed in all of the Resource Rooms. There was a very considerable investment in Information Technology infra-structure with the commissioning of a new server as the most significant element of this programme. After many years of discussion, a settlement figure was agreed between Fingal County Council and the Board with regard to water usage and water metering.
The following policies were reviewed and sanctioned during 2013-14: Anti-Bullying, Cyber-bullying, Relationships and Sexuality Education, Parental Involvement in the school and School Accounting Procedures. The BOM acknowledges and thanks the individual Board members and members of the Parents’ Association who worked on the various policy documents. The Board also surveyed parents with regard to attitudes to school uniforms and tracksuits, and there was an overwhelming majority in favour of a continuation of present policies. The Board has also consulted other stakeholders with regard to the production and evaluation of its annual Development Plan.
Mr John White, Divisional Inspector, replaced Mr John Fitzgerald as the Inspector with responsibility for our school. There were an incidental visit by Mr Fitzgerald on Thursday, 26 September 2013, and Mr White visited the school on a number of occasions to inspect the 4 teachers who were completing Probationary requirements. The Board received notice of a Whole School Evaluation which will commence on 29 September 2014. The preliminary meeting between the inspectors and the various stakeholders will occur on Monday, 15 September 2014.
As part of the School Self-Evaluation process, Literacy was identified as the curricular area to review during 2013-14. Oral Language was the element on which it was decided to focus, and various initiatives were put in place, and evaluated in June 2014. For the school year, 2014-15, the focus will be on Numeracy, and it is intended to undertake a range of activities during this year. Details of the School Self-Evaluation Reports and Improvement Plans will be uploaded to the new school website as soon as the development work on the site has been completed.
During 2013-14, a new English Language series, Wonderland, was introduced, and in addition to the purchasing of resources, short and long-term planning policies were revised. The pupils in 6th Classes completed a project entitled The Riots in Swords in 1913, and a local history book, Images of Swords, which had been completed in 2013 was revised and the second edition was printed in July 2014.
The Board of Management is very appreciative of the contribution which the Parents’ Association makes to our school. The Parents’ Association was involved in the following initiatives during the school year:
- Teddy Bears’ Picnic for the new Junior Infants pupils
- Uniform and track-suit sale
- A Cake Sale which yielded €1,112.43
- A Christmas Raffle which yielded €3,334.39
- The Dublin City Mini-Marathon which yielded €858.50
- The Multi-Cultural Evening, the proceeds of which were donated for medical and other expenses of Éabha Dunne, daughter of the late Ms Clinton, €4,500
The Parents’ Association donated €1,900 to school funds, and it sponsored treats for the children on Jog and Sports Days, for the visit of Santa, and it funded flowers for the liturgies. Representatives from the Parents’ Association spoke at the Induction Meeting for the Parents of new Junior Infants and they also distributed school publicity brochures throughout the community.
Other Achievements and Events
The Board of Management congratulates the pupils and staff on the following achievements and activities:
- Obtaining a 4th Green Flag
- Receiving the Digital Schools of Distinction Award
- The Gaelic Football team playing in the Final of the Fingal League
- The Safe Cycling Project
- The Science Day
Forthcoming Events and Arrangements
Sunday, 24 August Teddy Bears’ Picnic
Thursday, 28 August School re-opens
In concluding our Annual Report for 2013-14, the Board of Management thanks all of the members of our school community for their continuing support and co-operation.
Ní neart go cur le chéile!!