Message from the Principal
Welcome to our website, which I hope portrays a flavour of our hardworking and fun learning hub.
GETNS was established in 2002, under the patronage of the wonderful Educate Together movement, with Attracta Hayden as Principal and John Tuohy as Deputy Principal. In 2003, an Assisted Learning Class (ALC) was opened, with Susan at the helm. The school grew into an exciting, thriving, ethical and sporty community in the historical Model School on Church Avenue, earning many a Green Flag and Science Award of Excellence.
If only this old building could tell a few stories … built c.1847, following Catholic Emancipation, the philosophy included mixing gender and mixing denomination, with an emphasis on quality teacher training. Unfortunately, this system didn’t survive for very long under the powers that be. The building has been home to many schools in the locality – since about 1970, these include Scoil Chiarán, Sacred Heart and NDNSP, with GETNS as its final school inhabitants.
The pioneers of the Model School system would be happy to know that GETNS is part of the Educate Together family, with equality, respect, inclusiveness and transparency underpinning all we stand for. We celebrate difference and encourage individuality and independent thinking. Personally, I am very grateful to all the passionate and hardworking individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes at Educate Together National Office, developing and supporting progressive schools and giving parents choice.
GETNS moved to our fabulous new premises in Jan 2017, where we are developing from single to double stream. A second ALC opened in Sept 2017. Since arriving, the building has been enhanced, with thanks to the Department, by a stunning art piece. We wanted something that connected us to the natural world in our locality. Some pupils visited the Botanics where they drew pictures of plant life; others went pond dipping in the Tolka and sketched the findings. The outcome is, a colourful glass jigsaw forming a river with a waterfall – a lovely representation of the school as a riverbed, with growing, evolving plant and animal life within it as its pupils and their families; along with the heron – patient, calm and determined, like our staff. We are forever grateful to Katerina and Bob for their creative genius! Surrounding the school, we have a fantastic forest with a pathway, developing beautifully; along which we have a gratitude bench, in memory of seven parents who we have very sadly lost over the years.
As we all know, it’s the people that make the community. Our pupils constantly amaze me with their caring attitudes, honesty, openness and confidence, and their creative, intelligent minds. Furthermore, it is genuinely humbling to be the principal of a school with the calibre of teachers, SNAs and ancillary staff here. The children are in excellent hands with our compassionate, highly competent staff, whose individual strengths and passions enhance the experiences for all. I also cannot praise our parent body enough, as they consistently contribute their time and talents generously and enthusiastically, creating more great opportunities for the children, from the STEAM committee to PTA-run whole-school phenomenal events like our annual Autumn Fair. The Board of Management is highly equipped in governance, bringing a broad range of valuable expertise, including in finance, building maintenance, etc.
What do we want for our pupils?
Wellbeing: to feel good about self and others; to care for self, peers and families; to care for the wider world and planet; to value and appreciate the preciousness of life and to deal effectively and fairly with all that life brings; to develop a strong sense of self as part of a community.
As an Active School, physical activity and opportunities to develop fit and healthy lifestyles go beyond PE lessons. Our traditional lunchtime jog (from our old premises to Na Fianna and back, with thanks to Attracta) has developed into regular runs throughout the day, around our very own running track. We have been awarded a well-deserved Active School Flag this term (summer ’21).
Creativity: we aim to nurture the creativity in each child and to provide plentiful opportunities for self-expression, through playful and active teaching approaches such as Aistear; team teaching and group work; Drama; and the awesome annual Art Day. This school year (2020–21), we have been successful in receiving a Creative School Award, which includes funding and outside support to develop a creative whole-school project over two years.
Ethics: Critical thinkers become responsible citizens – as a Green School and an Educate Together school, we nurture curiosity and questioning, with a view to encouraging debate and a sense of individual responsibility for contributing to the greater good, empowering children to make a difference. We are a Global Citizenship school.
We aim to help our children become kinder, more caring and more aware individuals, with a strong sense of their unique and special talents, and also inclusive and appreciative of others’ contribution. We hope that they experience learning as something fun and exciting, and are motivated to keep trying their best in school and in life.
Roisin Conlon , Principal