Saturday 23 September 2017

Revealed: Three teachers, a learning support teacher and a caretaker still employed at school - but there are no pupils

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Stock photo
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Three teachers, a resource teacher and a caretaker are still being employed at a school that has no pupils left.

Scoil Naisiunta Brighde, Faughart, Co Louth hit headlines previously this month as parents decided to take their children out of the school.

It's now claimed that only no pupils remain in the school, despite there being three teachers, a shared learning support teacher and a caretaker employed. A manager has also been appointed to the school, following the dissolution of the Board of Management.

Earlier this week, Independent.ie learned that one student was at the school. It's believed that child is no longer attending the school bringing the current number down to zero.

The Department of Education inspected the school earlier in May and made a number of critical findings.

Parents decided to remove their children from the school as they said they feel the issues highlighted by the department are not being adequately addressed.

Scoil Naisiunta Bhride Picture: http://www.snbhridefaughart.ie/
Scoil Naisiunta Bhride Picture: http://www.snbhridefaughart.ie/

The department's inspection followed a a Whole School Evaluation (WSE) report which was published in March.

Almost 30pc of parents disagreed there was a good atmosphere in the school, according to the report.

While almost 60pc agreed "teaching is good in the school," 27pc disagreed and 10pc said they "don't know".

The department's subsequent report said that action should be taken "as a matter of priority" to "rebuild trust within the school community and to improve enrolment".

It also found that there was a big variation in the quality of teaching of some subjects, ranging from "outstanding to poor".

Local Sinn Fein councillor Edel Corrigan told Independent.ie that there are a number of concerns for the local children.

"A school manager was appointed by the Department of Education to try solve some of the internal problems but so far she hasn't been able to solve anything.

"The parents are very frustrated and have pulled their children from the school for their welfare. The Department of Education and the Archbishop needs to intervene here and solve the problems."

Ms Corrigan said that three teachers, a resource teacher and a caretaker are still being employed at the school despite the lack of pupils.

"It shouldn't be the case that the teachers are in limbo. Parents are sending their children to another school until the issues are resolved. It's a huge loss for the rural community. A school is a massive hub for social interaction and it's very sad that it's come to this."

A local parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Independent.ie that she was outraged that only one child was left in the school earlier this week.

"One child was in the school and there are three teachers and a resource teacher being paid.

"We as parents are disraught. We want to send our kids to the school but the Department of Education needs to solve the issues that remain in the school.

"There were once over 50 kids at the school. We had such a passion for the school and the parents association held a number of fundraisers to keep the school going.

"I drive past the school every day and see several cars parked outside belonging to the teachers. They want to teach but they are victims of this senseless inaction.

"Teachers are in the school ready to teach but don't have any kids. It's heartbreaking. We want our kids in the school but we want the issues solved."

She added that parents are concerned for the future of the school and called on the Department of Education and the Archbishop to intervene.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education repeatedly refused to confirm to Independent.ie the remaining number of students and pupils at the school.

Parents at the school claim their complaints are "falling on deaf ears" and that they are getting "radio silence" from those in charge.

In a statement, the Department of Education said:

“The Department is in ongoing contact with the school authorities and Patron of Scoil Náisiúnta Bhrighde in relation to the issues arising including its future viability. In general decisions in relation to any redeployment of teachers are carried out in accordance with the agreed redeployment arrangements at Primary level.

“As previously stated, the Department is in ongoing contact with the school authorities and Patron of Scoil Náisiúnta Bhrighde in relation to the issues arising including its future viability and deployment of teachers. In this regard, a further meeting between the Department, the school authorities and the Patron is due to take place next week”.

Independent.ie contacted the newly appointed manager and school principal at Scoil Naisiunta Brighde, Faughart numerous times but they refused to comment.

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