Friday 27 April 2018

'As a past pupil, it's not nice to see' - fears for future of primary school after parents pull children out

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

Amy Molloy

The future of a Co Louth primary school is hanging in the balance as fewer than ten children showed up for the first day of school.

Scoil Náisiunta Bhríde in Faughart, Dundalk reopened its doors today amid fears it may be forced to close down.

Just six children turned up for school today according to RTE News.

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

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

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".

Cllr Conor Keelan (FF) is a past pupil of the school and has been liaising with parents in the area.

"There are parents who I know who had been intending to send children there and are no longer going to do so," Cllr Keelan told Independent.ie.

"I’m a past pupil so I am aware of the concerns arriving from the WSE report. As a past pupil, I would be very sad to see it close. The inaction by the Department of Education following the inspection is part of the problem."

The school's Board of Management was dissolved last May and the school patrons, the Archbishop of Armagh, appointed a single manager as a replacement.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said “responsibility for implementing recommendations in an inspection report rest, in the first instance, with the management and patron of a school… Following the completion of the inspection, senior officials from the Department of Education and Skills held a meeting with the school management and the patron of the school concerning the issues identified during the inspection.”

“The patron then began the process to obtain  the Minister’s approval to dissolve the board of the school and to appoint a single manager to manage the school on the patron’s behalf however, the board resigned and a single manager was appointed by the patron in June 2017  to manage the school,” the department said.

“It is the responsibility of the manager of the school, acting on behalf of the school’s patron, to take the steps necessary to addresses the issues identified in the inspection report and to ensure that provision in the school is improved.”

“The Department understands that the manager has begun this work, and the Department does not wish to comment further on the steps that the manager is taking in this specific case.”

Independent.ie has contacted Scoil Náisiunta Bhríde for comment.

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