Good Shepherd National School

The Good Shepherd National School is a primary national school located in the southern Dublin suburb of Churchtown. The school caters for 380 boys and girls from the locality aged 4 to 13 years.

Established by amalgamation in 1989, the school has grown significantly. Staffing has increased by more than 100% to 20 teachers and enrolment has increased by more than 50% in that time. This growth has taken place in an overall context of falling population and pupil numbers. The school has been successful in attracting pupils in an area with a wide and varied choice of schools.

The aim of the school is “to provide the best possible start in life for the children in our care”. The success of the school in catering for a wide variety of needs of all pupils is well recognised. In addition to mainstream classes, a specialised service for children with special educational needs is offered. There are 4 Special Classes providing for children from the local and wider community. The school also caters for the needs of children of the Travelling Community. In recognition of the diversity of need and the socio-economic factors in the area, the school is also included in the Department of Education Disadvantaged Schools Scheme.

The school has demonstrated particular success and recognition in two areas of endeavour:

Special Education and The use of Computers and Information Technology

Special Education

Good Shepherd has responded to the growing needs of children for special education services not only in the local community but also, at the request of the Department of Education, in the wider community of south City and County Dublin. The services provided by the school for children with special needs have developed and expanded in quality, expertise and scale to the extent where the Good Shepherd N.S. has become recognised, de facto, as a “designated school” within the meaning of the Report of the Review Body on Special Education (Dept. of Education, 1993). The school operates a general policy of integration. It is the aspiration of the school to promote integrated education whenever possible in the organisation and operation of the special education services provided.

The school has experience at European level in the study of these issues and contribution to the formulation and development of policy and practice. We were nominated for and participated in two EU initiatives in this area:

The Education of Children of Migrant Workers - Study Group - 1991

HELIOS II programme, Integration in Education - 1993 to 1996

Computers and Information Technology

The school has always recognised the importance of preparing children for life in the Information Age. This area was a priority from the outset. Through a number of significant and pioneering initiatives, the school has been to the forefront in promoting and developing the use of computers, information and communication technology in Irish education.

Through securing local industry sponsorship and community support, the school established a state-of-the-art computer facility which was opened by the President, Mary Robinson, in 1991. Through co-operation with the computer manufacturer, ACORN Computers, the first Irish Acorn in Education Centre was established. This centre has operated as a training, advice and support centre for teachers since 1993.

In collaboration with BROADCOM, the Good Shepherd was one of the original “Classroom of the Future” schools.

A current EU initiative which the school is participating in is CABIT - a project to devise a training framework for teachers being introduced to computers and Information technology. This group has just completed the initial phase of development of a training manual specifically for use with primary teachers in a European context.

Good Shepherd N.S.