is a mainstream school in the city centre of Galway. Our goal is to promote education in our inclusive setting thus enabling all pupils to belong within an educational community that values their individuality. Our school is entitled to DEIS Band I status, which means it is amongst the schools in Ireland with the highest levels of disadvantage. Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS)the Action Plan for Educational Inclusion, was launched in May 2005 and remains the Department of Education and Skills policy instrument to address educational disadvantage. The action plan focuses on addressing and prioritising the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities, from pre-school through second-level education (3 to 18 years). DEIS provides for a standardised system for identifying levels of disadvantage and an integrated School Support Programme (SSP).
Our school has approximately 320 students, which includes about 43% of children who are from diverse backgrounds. Many of our students arrive throughout the school year with very limited English language skills. These children are entitled to limited support to develop their English language skills. This has presented our school with amazing diversity and new opportunities for our students and staff to learn on a more global level.
Our school also was one of the first schools in Galway to incorporate a specialised class for children who are on the Autistic Spectrum. At present, we have four dedicated classes on our campus to meet the special needs of children of children on the Autistic Spectrum. These students are included in all the school activities and celebrations and many of them integrate for parts of the day into the mainstream class setting.
Claddagh National School is well known in the region and nationally and some of our staff have participated on a governmental level with advising regarding integration of minority students into schools in Ireland as well as working with children who reside on a long-term basis in Direct Provision for Asylum Seekers.
Despite our school’s strong ethos of inclusivity, we still face the challenges any school faces in the European Union. As the economy has declined and unemployment has risen, we’ve become increasingly concerned about the general health and wellbeing of our students and families. Some of our teachers and staff have also felt the harsh effects of cuts in salary and benefits that have faced our profession in the past few years. We would like to improve the health and wellness of our staff and teachers so that we may provide the highest levels of learning experiences for our students. Our teaching staff are committed to both professional and personal development and are excited to engage with the Erasmus+ Happens project to improve both areas. We commit to sharing our innovative learning/teaching techniques with the students in our school.
We are anxious to engage with our European partners to improve our understanding of the pedagogy and implementation of our SPHE (Social, Personal, Health and Environmental Education) and PE (Physical Education) curriculum.
Sadly, one of our dear colleagues took his own life in Spring 2014. This deeply affected our staff, students and school community. We are honouring his memory by continuing on his strong commitment to the development of the SPHE curriculum as well as his successful participation in many martial arts and sports.