Great excitement in Cork national school as school numbers continue to grow

Great excitement in Cork national school as school numbers continue to grow

Junior Class teacher Sarah Mooney and School Principal Joanna Kelly pictured with the new group of pupils who came into Kyle NS on their first day back into school recently. Picture: Howard Crowdy

“Junior infants really are the lifeblood of the school”, said Kyle NS principal Joanna Kelly after nine new students joined their national school for the start of the new academic term.

Kyle NS which is a co-educational school is a typically small country school located in the parish of Killeagh. 

Ms Kelly said there was great excitement when the school reopened recently. 

“It was lovely. There was fierce excitement. Six kids started as junior infants which is a brilliant number. Junior infants really are the lifeblood of the school. For the existing pupils to see new kids coming in is lovely. They are all so small and their jumpers are so big,” she said.

Leigh Kearns already into reading on her first day of school at Kyle NS, Killeagh. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Leigh Kearns already into reading on her first day of school at Kyle NS, Killeagh. Picture: Howard Crowdy

In total nine students started in Kyle NS this year which ensures their full school number is now at 26 which offers the school principal great encouragement. 

“Twin girls and a boy also started in second class. We are getting the feeling that there is a renewed appreciation for small schools and small class sizes."

"This year our numbers have started to creep up. We went down to 19, we came up to 21. This year we are at 26. We are hoping to get back over the 30 pupil mark in the near future.

Odhran O'Tuama pictured marking his first day at Kyle NS, Killeagh with his parents Lorraine and Proinsias. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Odhran O'Tuama pictured marking his first day at Kyle NS, Killeagh with his parents Lorraine and Proinsias. Picture: Howard Crowdy

“We would always have done open days but due to Covid, all our PR stuff got pushed online so we had to really drive our social media campaign and this has helped. 

"The recent trend is the bigger schools are getting bigger and the smaller schools are getting smaller. I think we are just starting to turn the tide on that,” she added.

Kyle NS boasts a number of high profile former students which include current TD James O’Connor, former Cork hurling captain Mark Landers, RTÉ news reporter Dyane Connor and Muriel Foley who runs her own Digital Marketing company. Ms Kelly said when she started out as principal of Kyle NS the current TD for Cork East James O’Connor was in sixth class. 

“James has been a wonderful advocate for the school. His father is currently doing his second term on the board of management.” 

Bill and Anna-Mae Kelly pictured with their mother and school principal Joanna on Bill's first day of school at Kyle NS, Killeagh. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Bill and Anna-Mae Kelly pictured with their mother and school principal Joanna on Bill's first day of school at Kyle NS, Killeagh. Picture: Howard Crowdy

The school principal said there are many advantages for both students and their families in attending a small national school. 

“There is a lovely atmosphere in the school. We are able to give a bit extra because the school is so small. The minute you drop the class size there is more care, time, and more expertise for the pupil. 

"The home school links are critical and they are a trademark of small schools. Students have a greater opportunity of reaching their individual potential as we cover the curriculum to a very high standard because of the low teacher-pupil ratio.

Aine Walsh and Michaela Slattery Ward pictured on their first day in Junior Infants Class in Kyle NS, Killeagh. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Aine Walsh and Michaela Slattery Ward pictured on their first day in Junior Infants Class in Kyle NS, Killeagh. Picture: Howard Crowdy

“We are also very inclusive. We have quite a lot of children of other world faiths and none in the school. 

"We also do extras such as participating in the farm safety awards. We had a winning project in the SOPHia project which promotes physics among girls. We also participated in Feel Good Friday which promotes positive mental and physical health and wellbeing,” she added.

Bronagh Owers gets a welcoming hug from her big sister Doireann as she enters Junior Infants class for the first time at Kyle NS, Killeagh. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Bronagh Owers gets a welcoming hug from her big sister Doireann as she enters Junior Infants class for the first time at Kyle NS, Killeagh. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Kyle NS has been serving the educational needs of the local community since 1870. 

Ms Kelly is confident the school has a bright future ahead. 

“It has a huge history and tradition in the area. Hopefully, that will continue for many more years to come. Dwindling numbers have been a problem in the past. The school faced closure sixty or 70 years ago and the parents fought to keep it. We are going to do the same. We are going to build on the gains that have been made this year.”

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