Friday 14 December 2018

One pupil and just one teacher at the city's newest primary school

THE principal of a school with just one pupil has confirmed that she expects more children to enrol in the coming weeks.

In a bizarre situation, Scoil Aoife in Tallaght opened its doors this week for just pupil, a little girl.

"This is how a lot of community schools start off and then they grow," Stacey McAuley, the principal and only teacher of the school told the Herald.

"We were late opening so a lot of people had registered their children elsewhere but there is a lot of interest in the area," she explained.

She confirmed last night that she expects to enrol more pupils in the coming weeks.


"The school is really beautiful and getting better every day," Ms McAuley added. Paintwork was still taking place yesterday.

"Small classes guaranteed" is a promise to parents printed on a leaflet advertising the school (above). The advertisement also reads that the school is opening in its temporary home with "a new building promised for 2015/2016".

Scoil Aoife is currently housed in Brookfield Youth and Community Centre in Tallaght. The yet-to-be-built permanent home of Scoil Aoife will have 16 classrooms.

A call for applications for enrolment was put out as early as last February with an open evening for parents in June.

The appointment of Ms McAuley was announced by a Dublin-based Education and Training Board before the summer holidays began.

Despite the fact that just one pupil started school there, the school opened as planned this month.

When it is fully developed, Scoil Aoife plans to have around 440 pupils from junior infants up to sixth class. It is unlikely that any more staff hired will be hired until there are 20 pupils there.

The Department of Education said the school was set-up based on information gleaned from child benefit data in the area and it is expected that class sizes will grow.

At the moment with just one pupil it is understood that another adult is in the room with Ms McAuley and her sole pupil.

This is to satisfy child protection laws.

Scoil Aoife is a multi-denominational school and it is one of three new schools in the area.

The National Parents Council (NCP) said the situation at Scoil Aoife must be monitored to make sure the best interests of the girl attending are met.

"It is essential that this situation is closely monitored and responded to accordingly, not only for financial resource issues but more importantly in the best interests of the one pupil attending, "Aine Lynch, CEO of the NCP said.

Meetings will be held early next week to discuss the enrolment situation for this school year and next.


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