Board of Management of St Colmcille’s BNS, Swords
Annual Report, 2014/2015
Board of Management 2011-2015
Mr Thomas Shields, Chairperson (Resigned in March 2015)
Mrs Veronica Mc Dermott, Chairperson (April 2015)
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
The Board met formally on 12 occasions during this school year. Members of the Board visited the school on many occasions throughout the year, and were involved in many of the initiatives and activities which were undertaken in 2014-15. This Board completes its term of office in October 2015
Retirement of Mr Tom Shields, Chairperson of Board of Management
Mr Tom Shields retired as Chairperson of the Board of Management on Monday, 2 March. He became a member of the Board of Management of St Colmcille’s BNS in 1991 and was appointed Chairperson of the Board of Management in 2003. He has been a very supportive Chairperson and he has overseen great improvements in the physical fabric and resourcing of the school. We thank Tom for his great contribution to our school community and to the Parish of St Colmcille, and wish himself and Áine well for the future.
Welcome to Mrs Veronica Mc Dermott
The new Chairperson of the Board of Management is Mrs Veronica Mc Dermott.
Enrolment and Attendance
The average attendance figures for 2014-2015 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 had been very poor attenders in 2013/14 has continued to be very effective but total enrolment has now reached crisis proportions. The enrolment figure on 30 September 2014 was 377, a decrease of 18 on the previous year. This trend has been flagged for the past seven years, and the consequences will manifest themselves at the start of the new school year when there will be a second composite class in the school.
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.
The temporary appointments for 2014-15 were Ms Ciara Reynolds, Ms Leanne Kilkenny, Mr Diarmuid Connell and Ms Carrie Flood. The job-sharing arrangement between Ms Orla Murtagh and Ms Caroline Cottell continued in 2014-15, and Ms Caitriona Quinn was involved in a job-sharing arrangement with a teacher in a school in Galway. A cluster was formed with St Colmcille’s GNS which resulted in the appointment of a temporary teacher who was shared between the two schools from September 2014 until November 2014. One permanent post was due to be lost as a result of the decrease in pupil enrolments, but by enrolling a third Infant Class for 2015- 2016, this action will be deferred until 30 September 2015. 402 pupils is the enrolment figure which is required to maintain the present staffing.
Whole School Evaluation
A Whole School Evaluation was undertaken by the DES during the first term of 2014. Mr John White, DES Inspector, met with the BOM, the teaching staff and the officers of the Parents’ Association on 15 September 2014. Classroom visitations occurred during the week commencing 29 September and oral feedback was given to the Board of Management, the teaching staff and the Parents’ Association on 8 October 2014. The written report was very complimentary, and the BOM is very pleased that the magnificent work which is being done in the school was recognised formally by the DES.
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. A programme for pupils receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation was initiated this year and involved pupils and parents attending a special Mass once a month. A retreat for the pupils in 6th Class was organised by Fr Carey, Parish Administrator, and Fr Peter Mc Carron, School Chaplain. Fr Mc Carron also oversaw arrangements for the various liturgies which were celebrated throughout the year. Ms Marion Power, Diocesan Adviser, visited the school during the week commencing 26th January 2015. The subsequent report was very complimentary with regard to the “strong Catholic ethos and obvious Catholic identity in the school”. There was a Carol Service on 18 December 2014 and the Mass for the School Leavers was held on 23 June. Certificates which were designed by Mr Pat Mc Guinness, Deputy Principal, were presented to the pupils.
Buildings and Grounds
An extensive refurbishment of a pre-fabricated building was completed during summer 2014. A garden in memory of the late Miss Olivia Clinton was designed and completed in August 2014. Olivia’s parents, Mr and Mrs Seamus Clinton, visited the school in June 2015 and expressed their appreciation of the beautiful tribute to their daughter’s memory. Repairs were effected to the surface of the Senior Yard in November 2014. In last year’s report, there was a reference to a settlement having been reached with Fingal County Council with regard to the water metering. This has proved to be only a temporary respite because the debate with Fingal County Council continues as a result of the discrepancies between meters. Low-Flo was commissioned to conduct an audit of water usage, and it found no significant leaks in the system. The BOM decided to re-locate the fire hydrant and to decommission the “old” main pipe so that the only other possible source of a leak can be eliminated. Security in the new Resource Building has become a cause of concern. Arrangements have been made for enhanced security measures to be put in place.
The following policies were reviewed and sanctioned during 2014-15: SPHE, Substance Abuse, Adult Bullying, Sexual Harassment, Religion, Attendance Strategy, Pupils with Exceptional Abilities and Book Rental. The BOM acknowledges and thanks the individual Board members and members of the Parents’ Association who worked on the various policy documents. The Board has also consulted other stakeholders with regard to the production and evaluation of its annual Development Plan.
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 and 2015. Questionnaires on oral language were distributed to pupils and parents during June 2015. For the school year, 2014-15, the focus was on Numeracy, and a wide range of activities was undertaken during this year. New equipment was purchased, a new storage area was prepared and mathematical trails were devised. Details of the School Self-Evaluation Reports and Improvement Plans will be uploaded to the new school website before the start of the new school year. For the school year, 2015-16, the Visual Arts is the curricular area which has been chosen for review, and prints by a wide range of artists will be displayed and studied.
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
- A Cake Sale which yielded €1,000
- A Christmas Raffle which yielded €2,987.50
- The Dublin City Mini-Marathon which yielded €283.50
- The Multi-Cultural Evening which yielded €2507.22
The Parents’ Association donated €1,500 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 met with parents and pupils on the Open Day for the new Junior Infants.
- A new photocopier was purchased and auditing structures were put in place
- 297 pupils were registered for the Mathletics programme
- Samples of the work of twenty famous artists were displayed and studied
- Internet security was enhanced, and all pcs and laptops in the school were password protected
- Niall Mc Guirk, Fingal County Council, trained a group of pupils from 6th Class to act as facilitators for play activities for pupils in our Junior classes
- The website has been re-designed by Ms Ciara Brangan, and each class has been facilitated in the process of uploading its own bloggies
- The Gaelic Football team won the local section of the Credit Union competition and it also won the regional competition
- The soccer team was runners-up in the league
- Pupils won medals in the Fingal County Council’s cross-country races
- The boys from 6th Class completed a history project entitled “A Tale of Two Prize-Winners” and entered it in the Decade of Centenaries competition
- The Second Edition of Images of Swords was launched in September 2014 at a reception which was attended by Mags Murray, Mayor of Fingal
Retirement of the Principal, Mr James Bennett
- Mr James Bennett retired at the end of the school year as principal of St Colmcille’s BNS. He had served in the school for a total of 45 years, 35 of these years as Principal. A number of events were arranged to mark his retirement – the Board of Management held a function after its last meeting on 15 June. The staff of the school organised a reception on 23 June and there was a Special Assembly on 24 June. The Board thanks Mr Bennett for his service to our school community and wishes him well for his retirement.
Appointment of Principal
- Mr Kieran Lyons has been appointed as Principal of St Colmcille’s BNS with effect from 27 August 2015. The Board wishes Mr Lyons well as he undertakes the leadership of our school community
Forthcoming Events and Arrangements
Sunday, 23 August Teddy Bears’ Picnic
Thursday, 27 August School re-opens
In concluding our Annual Report for 2014-15, 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!