The new junior infants at Barnacogue NS

Barnacogue is buzzing

THERE’S a bit of a buzz around Barnacogue National School these days. Bucking the trend for small schools nationally, enrolment at St. James’ NS is on the up, with five new pupils reporting themselves as ‘anseo’ when school started back last week.

Based in an idyllic setting a few miles from Swinford, the school is a hive of activity, with enrolment also underway for Barney’s Busy Bees Pre-school. The weekly Thursday morning parent and toddler group will also be restarting soon.
The community has welcomed the appointment of principal Lorraine Bullard this September as well as the arrival of new teacher Aoife Casey.

The buzz isn’t just happening on the ground in Barnacogue. There’s also a few tweets filling the air with the launch of the school’s new twitter - @BarnacogueNS - account, a dedicated school Facebook is up and running in the past few days (there's also one for the pre-school), and a new website will be going live soon.

The school has been the heart of the community for generations and youngsters now get to experience it that little bit earlier thanks to Barney’s Busy Bees Pre-school, which adjoins it. Offering the free pre-school year, and also children who don’t qualify for the free pre-school year. children enjoy a play-based curriculum, with large indoor and outdoor play areas, and all educational needs are catered for.

The pre-school runs five days a week from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and is HSE registered, with highly qualified and experienced staff. Providing a warm, nurturing and stimulating environment, the little Busy Bees enjoy a high standard of care and learning.

The experience makes the transition to school seamless and the pre-school is turning out to be a valuable tool in supporting the primary school itself, with four of the five new starts graduating from Busy Bees earlier this year.

Barnacogue NS boasts all modern amenities, including a purpose-built library, a hall for indoor sports, interactive white boards and laptops, a fully equipped kitchen, basketball courts, tennis courts and a football pitch. The school is currently working towards its fourth green flag for transport. A low pupil/teacher ratio ensures children enjoy a one-on-one learning experience.

Outside the pupils have their own vegetable garden and time spent involved in sport has reaped rewards down the line, with four past pupils lining out for the Mayo ladies minor team - Niamh Ansboro, Hayley Moore, Amy McNicholas and Rebecca Lenehan. Niamh also captained the Scoil Muire agus Padraig, Swinford, team that won the school’s first Connaught Under 16 A soccer title, with Amy again showing her superb goalie qualities.

The increase in numbers is a vote of confidence in the school, its teachers and the pupils. Having received strong community support down through the years, it is a positive endorsement of ‘brand Barnacogue’ and its reputation as a centre of educational excellence. The whole school evaluation for St. James’ is available on the Department of Education website, giving excellent reports.

Places are still available at Barney’s Busy Bees Pre-school - contact (094) 9367440 during school hours. You can also check out the pre-school’s Facebook page.

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