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'I'll feel emotional when I see him go, he's all grown up'

Mums and dads will have their tissues at the ready this week as they bring their children to school for the first time.

And for many teachers taking up new posts, it is a nerve-racking time too as they prepare for the school year ahead.

Tens of thousands of kids nationwide will enter junior infants in the coming days.

One of them is Matthew Ryan (4) from Rathfarnham who is "excited" as he prepares for his first day in primary school.

"He is starting tomorrow," his mum Gillian (36) said. "He is going to the local Whitechurch National School.

"He is really excited. He has been in Montessori for the last two years, so he is used to mixing with kids."

"He is looking forward to it, he isn't nervous at all," she said. "There will be 23 children in his class, and he is definitely ready for school."


"It is a non-uniform school. It is going to be a change, because my daughter Amy, who is 13, had a uniform, so I am used to that."

"In montessori, he didn't have a uniform, so I just put on track suit bottoms, and tops and jeans. But I suppose when you have a uniform the good thing about that is you are not buying as much clothes for them.

"I did the school books about five weeks ago. I said I would be well prepared this year.

"Matthew picked a black school bag with little white skulls on it.

"I am going to drive him down, and there is a coffee morning for the mums and dads so I am going to stay there for an hour and meet up with some of the parents."

"I think I will feel a little bit emotional when I see him going off for the first time. He is no longer a baby, he is grown up," Gillian said.

For the past three and a half years, she has worked from home.

Gillian established Style Mama, doing personal appointments for occasion wear for pregnant mothers.

"I dress them for all occasions. It is a dress and hat hire business for events like weddings, confirmations, christenings, and balls."

Secondary teacher Leona Matthews is also looking forward to the new school term.

"Most teachers never get the opportunity in their entire career to start a brand new school," said the 23-year-old.

"To get it so early on in my career, is just amazing," said Leona, who teaches maths and science at the new second level school Ballymakenny College in Drogehda.

It is a new type of community school, with Louth Meath Education and Training Board and Educate Together as its joint patrons.

Leona has previous teaching experience at Caritas College in Ballyfermot, as well as Colaiste na hInse in Meath.

However, the opening of the new school offers a whole new adventure for the teacher and her colleagues.

"Already the teachers are so tightly knit, there are only seven of us and the principal.

"Already we get on so well, and then that rubs off on the students," Leona said.

"It is not just somewhere that we come from 8.30am in the morning until 3.30 in the evening.

"It is somewhere where we are a family together for those eight hours and beyond as well. We are here for the students 100pc all of the time," said the teacher from Slane.