A big thank you to everybody who helped out in the recent campaign to prevent an increase in class size. Thanks to all of you who sent postcards and emails to your public representatives and supported the campaign in any way. It goes to prove that making your voice heard does work and that a concerted co-ordinated effort will make a difference. We look forward to your continued support in our efforts to provide the best possible education for your children into the future. Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir!!
Great excitement in Scoil Ursula as special guests pay us a visit!
It was with an open door and big smiles that Scoil Ursula’s Student Council officially welcomed Bishop Christopher Jones and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, along with many other dignitaries and invited guests our school on Monday the 7th of October 2013. There were a lot of important people in the school that day to witness the official opening and blessing of our two room extension including, Canon Tom Hever, Board of Management Members including the Chairperson Marian Moore, Mayor of Sligo, Marcella Mc Garry, Senators Marc Mc Sharry, Michael Comiskey, Imelda Henry and Susan O’Keeffe. There were also TD’s and Councillors there including Minister John Perry, Tony Mc Loughlin, Michael Colreavy, Matt Lyons, David Cawley and Rosaleen O’Grady. There were members of the Parents Association, former Principals and Deputy Principal of Scoil Ursula, Principals and a President of neighbouring schools and colleges and of course the whole staff and pupils of the school.
It was all of these very important people that the whole of the Scoil Ursula Family welcomed with open arms on Monday. Flowers festooned the steps to the school and the children’s work was displayed in the Hall for all to see and admire.
The school Principal, Mr. Gallagher, welcomed everyone to the Hall for the auspicious occasion and thanked all of the staff, parents and pupils for their hard work and dedication in helping to bring about the extension. Thanks was also expressed to the Department of Education and Skills for funding the project, Rhatigan and Co. for their work as project planners and managers and to Castlelough Corporation Construction Company.
Mr. Gallagher spoke of the many changes that have taken place in education over the past number of years including the many initiatives, curriculum changes and other progressive improvements in primary education. While acknowledging all of these as positives he also urged An Taoiseach to use his influence to prevent a rise in class sizes in primary education and the loss of one or more teachers in Scoil Ursula along with a loss of services for children with special educational needs. The principal spoke highly of his predecessors, past staff and indeed the founders of the Ursuline order and committed, in St. Angela’s words to:
“put our whole soul into the undertaking we have chosen”
He then invited the Mayor of Sligo to speak to the crowd. Marcella Mc Garry spoke of the high regard that Scoil Ursula is held by the people of Sligo and its achievements in sport, academics, culture and community project. Scoil Ursula, she said, had a reputation for excellence in education locally and that the extension to the school was to be welcomed in helping to place this education in modern classrooms.
In his address Bishop Jones praised the work of the Ursuline Order in founding Scoil Ursula and the staff and principals, both Sisters and lay people, down through the years that kept up the Ursuline ethos of holistic child centred education that always aimed for excellence. He also reminded all those present that while the building the school is in is important, it is the people inside that make a school what it is. Bishop Christy also spoke of how much school life has changed since he was young and of his delight to see happiness being at the centre of what takes place in school nowadays.
The Chairperson of the Board of Management also spoke welcoming and thanking all for their presence. While extolling the virtues of an Ursuline school committed to linking with the community and the wider world and the excellence in education that it provides, Mrs. Moore also compared the new modern extension to the older buildings of the school. These, she said, addressing the Taoiseach, are falling into disrepair and need proper maintenance with the finances to go along with it. She asked that
“...you Taoiseach and our elected representatives to continue to put the needs of our children and the importance of education high on your agenda”
In his speech to the assembled crowd An Taoiseach thanked the school for the invitation and spoke of his pleasure being invited to perform the opening of the extension to the school. Mr. Kenny revealed how his own mother had been taught in an Ursuline School. The then echoed the views of the Mayor, speaking of the excellent work being done in the school and the long list of awards and achievement we have won and the projects we have taken part in, including our fifth Green Flag, Golden Pen Awards, singing with the National Children’s Choir, Cumann na mBunscoil trophies, the Golden Spider Award and many Cathaoirleach’s Awards too.
An Taoiseach went on to respond to the Chairperson’s speech with the hope that soon there would be some more flexibility in future budgets for school building and maintenance projects like the one outlined by Mrs. Moore for Scoil Ursula. He also noted that there was €13 billion to be spent on capital projects nationally between now and 2015 and that had to be split up between various departments. He also stated that both he and the Department of Education would work with school management to improve the buildings. He asked the Chairperson to keep in contact so that they could plot the progress together.
After this the school choir sang beautifully for all to hear. There followed an address by Bishop Jones asking God’s Blessing on the school and in particular on the extension. Children came to read Prayers of the Faithful asking God to bless the work of the school, their teachers and parents. Prayers were also said for national and world leaders and for the sick and the poor.
Following this the assembled guests were led out to the new extension where An Taoiseach officially opened it and Bishop Christy prayed for God’s Blessing on it. They were joined there by the pupils from Ms. Cogan and Ms. Mitchell’s who have their classes in the new rooms. Both An Taoiseach and the Bishop were presented with gifts and cards by the children.
It was a wonderful day for our school and we are so happy to share it with the whole school community. Thanks are due to so many people for their help and support throughout the project and in the lead up to the official opening. So to one and all we say Thanks!
We hope that this will be a stepping stone to further upgrades, improvements and successes for the school and the boys and girls of Scoil Ursula.
There was some local and national media coverage of the opening including (Click the links below)
As we begin another new school year in Scoil Ursula, the threat of further cuts in Education looms large on the horizon. Class sizes in primary schools are under threat in the next budget. Should these cuts go ahead, they will have a profound impact on this school. Specifically it will mean the loss of at least one class teacher, increased class sizes across the school resulting in classes of over 30 pupils and less time and resources for pupils with special needs.
Education groups at primary level have joined forces to form the National Alliance for Primary Education. The National Alliance for Primary Education comprises management, parents, teachers and principals. The aim of the Alliance is to call on the government to halt plans to cut primary education in this year’s budget. We are asking for your support in lobbying your local and national representatives to protect Primary Education and Class Size. You can use the following link to email your TDs: CLICK HERE TO EMAIL YOUR LOCAL TDs
The National Alliance believes that any attempt to bluntly cut primary education is essentially a direct attack on children and their constitutional right to education. The group believes that the children of today and tomorrow should not be forced to pay for the country’s current financial troubles.
The National Alliance is urging Government to leave primary education alone so it can continue to support national recovery. All the education partners question how schools can equip today’s generation for tomorrow if they are drained of vital resources.
Primary schools cannot play their role in prevention of learning difficulties through early intervention if they can barely keep their doors open. Cuts to primary education are short-sighted, represent bad value for money and will have devastating consequences for Irish society. The National Alliance for Primary Education is calling on schools, teachers, parents, communities and the people of Ireland, to stand together and resist these cuts and protect primary education for our children.
A postcard campaign targeted at TDs is being organised by the National Alliance and is to start this week. All schools have been informed of the campaign against the cuts and postcards will be sent to schools. Families of primary school children will be asked to send the postcards to all their TDs urging them to resist cuts to primary education in the budget.
The National Alliance for Primary Education includes Church of Ireland Board of Education, Catholic Primary Schools Management Association, Educate Together, An Foras Patrunachta, Gaelscoileanna, Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, Irish Primary Principals Network, National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education and the National Parents’ Council – Primary.
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