St. Patricks B.N.S. was founded in 1931 on Market Street. At the time it began as a Junior and Senior School in two separate buildings. In 1971 the school moved to the present building in Gortnaclohy but remained as two separate schools. In 2015 the junior and senior schools amalgamated to form St. Patrick’s B.N.S.
At present there are 213 pupils registered in the school. In 2001, we opened our first class for children with autism. We now have three A.S.D. classes – an Early Intervention Class, a Junior ASD Class and a Senior ASD class. The children attending these classes come from the West Cork area. We have 8 mainstream classes from junior infants to 6th class.
Our school has a very long history of excellent education in all subject areas . We have a very strong tradition of promoting sports and music in conjunction with local sports clubs and through initiatives which we take part in during the school year. In hurling and football we work closely with the O’Donovan Rossa GAA club and provide external coaching during the school year. Many of our pupils play basketball with the local Eagles Basketball club. Every year our 5th and 6th class pupils avail of a rowing programme which is worked with Skibbereen Rowing club. We also work with the Skibbereen Rugby Club and Munster rugby coaching division who run inter-school coaching days during the school year.
Classes from 1st to 6th travel to Dunmanway for swimming lessons every year. The local golf club also provide coaching and encourage our pupils to play golf in the excellent Skibbbereen Golf Course. We run a football league during the year and have a very strong history of success in the Sciath na Scol competition. We also take part in the City Sports each year.
Our pupils have taken part in the Cór Fhéile schools performances which take place in the city hall and we have taken part in the National Children’s Choir initiative for the past four years which culminates in a regionals concert which has been hugely memorable for our boys. We have a very strong tradition of singing and many our boys are part of the Skibbereen Youth Choir which promotes strong pastoral links within our community. As a Catholic school we celebrate the sacraments of Communion and Confirmation which are very important focal points in our school year. We acknowledge performance and every year our school prepares Christmas plays and drama working collaboratively to develop strong interpersonal cooperation between our classes.
We undertake many initiatives within our school. We are presently working on our Biodiversity Flag , having already been awarded the Litter and Waste, Energy, Water and Travel Flags. We are an Active School having gained our first flag four years ago and are renewing it this year. Our Active Week which we celebrate each year is a great week of fun, co-operation and activity using the environment around our school as well as our school grounds. We have also submitted to the FIS film making project over the past two years which is hugely beneficial for our students. We began debating this year and entered competitions locally, which develops skills of debating and also public speaking ability and confidence.
The development of our school garden has been our most recent project. Behind our school we have developed a sensory garden with a wonderful geodome, a living willow dome and ten raised beds – one for each class where we herbs, vegetables and flowers. We have built a very strong relationship with our very hardworking parents association who come and help each class weekly. We recently won the National Get Involved Award which was judged by Duncan Stewart. Our garden has been featured on Nationwide on RTE and on TG4. We have also been included on the West Cork Garden Trail for 2017 and will open our garden to the public every Saturday from 12pm to 4pm from May 27th. This project has been a great success because of the efforts of staff, parents and local support who have donated very generously to the project which we are extremely thankful for.