St Joseph's Hall
Primary School
Way Forward

St. Mary’s Primary School

Response to Parish Survey Findings (2007)

197 of the survey respondents had children attending St Mary’s Primary School at the time the survey was conducted. It is important to note that the information presented in this section relate to St. Mary's NS prior to its separation into two schools, a junior and senior national school, in September 2007. 183 of these parents (or 93%) expressed their satisfaction with the school. The Board of Management of St. Mary’s are delighted that there is such a positive appreciation of the school in the Parish. 93% is a remarkable satisfaction rating in any survey.

All respondents to the survey, including the parents who answered the question discussed in the opening paragraph, were invited to identify areas for improvement or change. 241 of the 810 survey participants, representing 30%, responded to this invitation. Most of the bigger issues identified were structural issues such as the need for a larger school with appropriate facilities, the safety and security of the students because of easy access to the street, the need for shelter on wet mornings, improved car parking and disabled access. In addition to initiatives taken at the existing school site, such as improved security both within the school and at the school perimeter, the completion of the new school, scheduled for the end of 2007, will address these concerns.

The new school will include a theatre which will provide the children with an excellent facility for drama and indoor sport activity. The progress of the building of the new school pictured January 2007.

Since 1999, the Board of Management of St. Mary’s School have campaigned and negotiated for the building of the new Senior School on a green field site across the road from the existing school and Church. This school is scheduled to open in late 2007. While this new building will provide Blessington children with the most up to date facilities for Primary education in the country, the Board has also continued its work of maintaining and upgrading the existing school building as can be seen in the accompanying photographs.

The new railings and gates that have been installed. New railings and gates were installed on all school property and a swipe card security system was installed on all doors.

In the survey in 2002, concerns were also expressed about class sizes and split classes. There are no longer split classes in the school and in recent years, emphasis has been placed on reducing the teacher: pupil ratio for the junior classes to give children the best possible start to their education. Other respondents asked for increased efforts to eliminate bullying. Among other steps taken to address bullying, the school held a Bullying Awareness Week in 2006 to further heighten awareness of bullying among students and parents.
Other suggestions included improved co-ordination, and advanced notice of days off. Since the survey was conducted, the Department of Education and Science has introduced standardised school holidays and the school has endeavoured to provide parents with the greatest possible notice of both holiday closures and other closed days through the distribution of a school calendar at the beginning of the school year, individual notices to parents, and the newly-introduced school newsletter.
Finally, some respondents said they would welcome more extra-curricular activities such as arts and crafts, music, swimming and foreign languages and would like to see increased emphasis on physical education, computer training, and remedial teaching. Since the survey was conducted the school has introduced a swimming programme and is also engaged in athletics, football, gaelic, hurling, basketball and handball. Music classes are also facilitated through the school. A new computer room, which is available to all classes, was opened in 2003. Eight new remedial classes rooms have also been provided and are designed to provide students with the best possible remedial service.
German is taught in 5th and 6th class. A correlated English language programme has been provided for non-national children.

The New Computer Room was funded by the Parish Neighbourhood Collection and was officially opened in 2003. The new computer room.
One of the many sporting activities in St. Mary's. Sporting activities at the School have increased dramatically in recent times. The students are now involved in swimming, athletics, basketball, handball, football, gaelic, hurling among other activities.

8 New Remedial Rooms have been developed in the School with major funding by the Parish Neighbourhood Collection to provide students with the best possible remedial service

Remedial rooms are located off this corridoor.

With regard to the issues raised in the survey, the Board of Management, the Principal and the Staff have worked very hard to deal with these issues and trust that readers will acknowledge the progress we have made to date. We would assure all parents that in St. Mary’s we pride ourselves on providing the best possible education and care for the children of the Parish.

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