Kerry Education and Training Board (Kerry ETB) were delighted to welcome Norma Foley TD, Minister for Education, to officially open Scoil an Ghleanna Community National School (CNS) on Friday, 28th October 2022.
Scoil an Ghleanna transferred from Catholic to multidenominational patronage in 2019, becoming Kerry ETB’s second Community National School. Uniquely Scoil an Ghleanna then also became Ireland’s first Gaeltacht based Community National School. To celebrate this momentous occasion, school staff, parents, community representatives, Kerry ETB Board Members, staff, and local Councillors joined the pupils of Scoil an Ghleanna for an official opening ceremony.
Norma Foley T.D. Minister for Education performed the official opening and addressed the event. Minister Foley said: “I am delighted to mark this historic occasion of the official opening of Scoil an Ghleanna Community National School as the country’s first Gaeltacht community national school. I am acutely aware of the proud tradition and importance that this school has in the Glen.
“Community national schools are an integral part of our education system, and it is heartening to see so many from the local community here today. I want to congratulate Principal Sorcha Ní Chatháin on this momentous day.”
Scoil an Ghleanna school principal Sorcha Ní Chatháin and the Cathaoirleach of their Board of Management, retired primary school inspector Pádraig Ó Donnabháin welcomed the gathering. Scoil an Ghleanna is the only multidenominational school in the area providing a choice in education for parents. Families can also avail of school transport from across the district.
Principal Sorcha Ní Chatháin added, “We, in Scoil an Ghleanna, are proud to be a Gaeltacht Community National School under the patronage of Kerry Education and Training Board. We are a vibrant and energetic school, and we are dedicated to providing the best possible education to our pupils. The members of our school community have shown great determination in supporting us, thus ensuring that the strong history of education in The Glen continues into the future. Ní neart go cur le chéile!”.
Providing choice in education for parents in Ireland has become more important over the years as we have become a more diverse society. While all CNS schools provide the national primary curriculum, they also offer their own Patrons Curriculum Goodness Me Goodness You. Goodness Me, Goodness You is a multi-belief and values education curriculum. A multi-disciplinary framework enables children to encounter identity education, values education, philosophy and multidenominational religious education”.
Pádraig Ó Donnabháin, Chairperson of the Board of Management, stated, “This is a historic occasion for Scoil an Ghleanna, now under the patronage of Kerry Education and Training Board as a Community National School. It is the first Gaeltacht school in Ireland to transfer patronage from the local diocese to the local education and training board. With the spirit and support of a proactive community in the Glen and surrounding area in Iveragh, Scoil an Ghleanna can be assured of progress and development for its future”.
Pupils, parents, and Kerry ETB representatives joined in the ceremony to express their vision for the school’s future and its pupils. Ann O’Dywer, the Director of Schools, Youth, and Music at Kerry ETB, stated, “Scoil and Ghleanna is a unique primary school. It is the only state multidenominational primary school in the Iveragh Peninsula. The patron of the school is Kerry ETB, and it is also the only Gaeltacht Community National School (CNS) in Ireland. CNS schools are publicly-accountable schools that strive to provide high-quality education for every child. They give equal opportunities to all children in the communities they serve”.
CEO Colm McEvoy expressed his gratitude to the local community adding, “The continued development of the Community National School model in Co. Kerry is very important for Kerry ETB. Since its establishment in 2019 Scoil an Ghleanna Community National School has made great progress. I wish to thank, in particular, the Bishop of Kerry Ray Browne, Fr Nicholas Flynn, Diocesan Administrator, and Fr Patsy Lynch Parish Priest for all their work and cooperation with the transfer of patronage to Kerry ETB in 2019. We wish the school continued success in the years ahead as we look forward to the expansion of the Community National School model across the county”.