'A great school for a great city.' - St Patricks BNS

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'A great school for a great city.'

School Information
Eamonn Finnegan (S.E.T.) at work with his boys

'A great school for a great city.' Author: Mr. Eamonn Finnegan (SEN Teacher, St. Patrick's B.N.S.)
Like other important cities in Europe, wouldn't it be great for Cork if it had a primary school with a long, historic tradition of educating pupils to become future leaders of society?

Prestigious positions such as professorships at UCC [Séan Teegan, Tadhg O' Ciardha], world famous writers [Frank O'Connor], artists [Séamus Murphy] and sporting superstars [Dónal Linehan, Tomás O' Leary] could come from its ranks. Such a school could boast academics at other universities; successful business people and many well educated and well rounded young people, coming from a long and impressive list of past pupils.

Imagine the huge beneficial impact that such a school would have on the City and Irish Society in general? Well don't worry, this isn't another aspiration waiting to be realised in the current economic environment. Such a school has existed in Cork for the last one hundred and eighty years! Its name is St. Patrick's Boys' National School.

The School is situated on Gardiner's Hill, on the north side of Cork City. It is a Catholic boys' primary school under the patronage of the Bishop of Cork and Ross. The school has a policy of social inclusion, therefore children from other cultures and faiths also attend. Our aim is to provide a caring, happy and stimulating environment, which promotes the holistic development of all pupils.

Our school motto is:
"Ó gach duine a dhícheall" (From each person, their best).

The staff is committed to helping each pupil realise his full potential with the help of his parents or guardians. All pupils are reminded that they must always make their best effort at every aspect of school life, academic or otherwise.
The school serves a wide catchment area comprising of Montenotte, Dillon's Cross, Mayfield, The Glen and the Lower Glanmire Road.  This represents a cross section of the socio-economic bands across the north side of Cork city from the well established, older suburbs to areas of economic and social need. Thus we have a strong academic tradition at St. Patrick's Boys' National School which dates from 1841 when the school was located at St. Luke's Cross.

Presently, the school has delivering equality of opportunity in schools [DEIS] status. Therefore, in its current phase, the modern St. Patrick's BNS is a remarkable equilibrium of influences with a fully comprehensive and reflective cohort of children from present day Cork City. The fact that this works so well is a testament to the totally committed and inclusive nature of the school. Under the DEIS scheme the school provides a pupil-teacher ratio of twenty: one in the first and second classes and twenty-four: one in the third to sixth classes.

Details of the school size:

At the moment, there are two hundred and twenty pupils and twenty-two teaching staff. The eleven class teachers are supported by the Principal [Mr. Joe Mc McCarthy, M.A. in Education], and the recently appointed deputy principal and sixth class teacher [Mr. Shane Foley]. The ten full-time SEN teachers offer support to children with special educational needs with the help of special needs assistants [SNAs].

School Organisation and extra curricular activities:

The school operates in two main buildings, one of which was built in 2009. There is ample space for teaching rooms, each equipped with interactive white boards and sound fields.  There are two halls, a fully equipped computer room, class libraries and resource rooms.

There are landscaped grounds around the campus with gardens, rich in a variety of mature trees, bushes and shrubs. Within the grounds is a cultivated garden which is maintained by the boys in order to grow vegetables and plants for consumption. Each class had fun producing their own crop and preparing meals!

There are two large playground areas which offer the boys plenty of space in which to play. They are used for outdoor PE and other activities such as measuring large spaces [mathematics] and compass activities [geography].
Sixth class boys run a "Lunch Time Pals" scheme which offers all the children a variety of games and activities to partake in at break time.

The original building has a beautiful courtyard, which has been dedicated as a memorial to Séamus Murphy. It contains a small pond, fountain and is a very attractive reminder of its famous former pupil.
The two halls are used for PE, dance lessons and assembly, visiting performers and art workshops. The new building also contains a parent's room with a fully equipped kitchen. Cookery lessons are undertaken by both parents and boys.

The school promotes a competent level of reading among all our pupils. There is a really strong emphasis on shared reading throughout the school. There is a close link with Mayfield local library and regular class visits are made and activities encouraged. The library has supported our school very well over the years. Literacy Lift-Off, Maths Recovery and First Steps are taught in the school.

Sport is an integral part of the curriculum at St. Patrick's BNS with many different sports being played. These include swimming, rugby, soccer, basketball and a wide range of other sports. There are also successful GAA football and hurling teams. Outside experts from the community help to train the boys.

Information technology is well catered for in the school and we have a dedicated computer room for that purpose. The computers are networked and a data projector is used to display whole class lessons. All boys are encouraged to develop a high level of technological expertise.

St. Patrick's BNS provides a breakfast club, a homework club and after school activities for pupils attending the school. The school completion programme [SCP] coordinates activities both in and out of school. They offer summer camps to children when the termly holidays arrive; this is especially useful during the long summer break.

Parental Involvement:
The school currently has the help of a home school community links [HSCL] teacher who provides courses for and links with the parent[s] and guardian[s]. Parent[s] and guardian[s] are encouraged to be involved in the learning of their children as much as is possible. They regularly attend "Maths for Fun" and Shared Reading activities.

There is a very strong Parents' Association which provides great support to the school on an ongoing basis. They are a source of assistance when it comes to raffles, fund raising and organizing special days such as on Communion day where they organise the Communion blazers and the popular Communion breakfast after the ceremony. They are also involved in Confirmation and Christmas activities. They were a huge source of energy and practical support when it came to the developing of the school garden.  Skilled parents helped with the carpentry and stone laying as well as the physical digging and planting.
The school encourages and welcomes visits from anyone who may be interested in seeing what we have to offer. We especially look forward to enquiries from Parent[s] and Guardian[s] who want a school which provides a holistic education for their son.

Please don't hesitate to contact us at:
Tel: 021 4502024 Fax: 021 4502719
St. Patrick's Boys' N.S., Gardiner's Hill, Cork.
e-mail: spb.ias@eircom.net
website: www.stpatricksboys.net

1,200 Words
By Éamonn Finnegan, SEN Teacher @ St. Patrick's BNS, 2012

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