Open Day at Scoil Naomh Íde Ashford

A very successful open day was held in Scoil Naomh Íde, Ashford, recently as part of a national campaign to highlight the problems faced by small rural schools throughout Ireland. Parents of present pupils as well as prospective parents and members of the wider community of Ashford were welcomed and were highly entertained by Mr. Tommy Moloney who spends 10 weeks in our school every year delivering art lessons to the children. The children love to see Tommy arriving on a Friday, as not only is he a talented artist but he is also a highly successful magician.

Everyone who attended was given a cup of tea or coffee and something to eat from the wide range of tasty sandwiches, cakes, buns, etc., provided by the parents of the school community. I’m sure that grannies, granddads, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends were probably pressed into service in the provision of the wonderful menu and we would like to thank everyone who contributed in any way.

Some of our local representatives, Mr. Patrick O’ Donovan TD, and Mr. Jerome Scanlon MCC, joined us on the day and members of the Parents’ Association again spoke to them about the problems facing small schools, like Scoil Naomh Íde, throughout rural Ireland. Since the open day, following more directives from the Department of Education and Skills, small schools have again been targeted with the division of Learning Support and Resource hours, which may mean that in the case of small schools up to three teachers may now be needed to cover the hours of tuition at present covered by one teacher. This will have implications for time-tabling which will be extremely difficult when trying to co-ordinate three or four schools. We hope that our representatives will take our concerns on board and that the message that we will fight to save our small schools and to preserve our local communities will be brought back to their colleagues in the Council Chamber and to Dáil Éireann.

The Parents’ Association and Board of Management would like to thank most sincerely all those who supported the cause on the day, and for the ongoing support of parents and pupils of the school. We look forward to welcoming new pupils in junior infants for the coming school year. Also thank you to the children of the school who helped to prepare for the day and who created the striking poster which hung at the front of the school.

‘Save our small schools’.