End of Year Board of Management Report 2016/2017
Milford National School is a Roman Catholic School under the Patronage of the Diocese of Limerick. We, in Milford National School, dedicate ourselves to providing a holistic education for our children, where potential and uniqueness of mind, heart, body and spirit are fostered and celebrated. In achieving this ideal we aim to promote self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence and a sense of belonging to our School Community. It is our goal to provide a culturally rich and multifaceted education, striving for academic excellence, while mindful of the diverse learning needs of all our children.
Milford National School has a population of 498 children at the end of the school year 2016/2017. We have a staff of 18 class teachers, 7 LSRT (Learning Support and Resource Teachers) and an administrative Principal. The school also has 13 SNAs. We have a full time secretary and caretaker.
The Board of Management is:
|Chairperson:||Mr. Liam de Búrca|
|Patron’s Nominee:||Fr. John Horan|
|Principal/Secretary BoM:||Mr. Diarmaid Moore|
|Teacher Nominee:||Ms. Louise Hill|
|Community Nominees:||Mr. John Field
Ms. Karen Frawley
|Parent Nominees:||Mr. Dave Williams
Ms. Valerie O’Hanlon
Sports: The Football season commenced in September, followed by the Hurling/Camogie season in the spring. The Board of Management wishes to express its huge appreciation to coaches Brian Kelly and Gemma Ryan (u10 boys), Denis O’Connor, Hannah O’Sullivan and Aaron Gallagher (u11 boys), Diarmaid Moore and Siobhán Fenton (u13 boys), Oliver O’Driscoll, Celine Munnelly and Maggie Moloney (u10 girls), John Nelligan, Yvonne Newman and Sandra Larkin (u13 girls) for the massive work put into training teams this year and a huge congratulations to the school on all the sporting victories. A big thank you Ms Quinlan and Ms Larkin who coached basketball training with an enthusiastic group of fifth class girls and boys. The Board also commends the coaches and members of the school athletics team who represented the school brilliantly in the annual Primary Schools’ Sports in Plassey. Many thanks to the teachers who trained the boys and girls. Many thanks also to Neasa O’Donnell and Catherine Dooley in the Arena for authorising the use of the Running Track on Fridays for the Milford Athletics Team to train. The University has been, and continues to be, a great neighbour to have!
Fitzpatrick Cup: This annual competition took place in January as usual. Well done to all the boys and girls who took part and to winning team, captained by Evan Jenkins and many thanks to Mr Nelligan for the impeccable organization of the matches each Tuesday and Thursday.
Swimming: The Irish Minor Schools Swimming Championships were held on 12th February 2017 in the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin. We are very proud of the fact that we had a number of pupils representing our school in the various swimming events. Congratulations to Natalia A, Daragh H, Ella C, Jack O’C, Hannah O’C and Lucy B who qualified for the Irish Minor Championship at the Munster Minor Schools Championships which were held before Christmas. Pupils who also competed in the Munster Championship include Alexandr A, Kai R, Erica M, Evan J and Isabelle D. We are very proud of your achievement. Well done!
Milford School Choir: Milford School Choir was represented by 20 children at the Limerick Community Games in The Woodlands hotel in Adare, on April 4th. They sang beautifully and were awarded second place! The full choir performed at the Líadan concert in March which was a wonderful experience for the children. The choir also won the chance to record a song at the Limerick Music Hub recording studio. The choir really finished off their year in style winning a First Place Award in the Midleton Choral Festival in County Cork, which took place on May 5th. Many thanks to Ms. Orla Murray and Ms. Linda O’Meara for their incredible dedication and effort. Thank you also to Ms. Hannah O’Sullivan who accompanied the choir on piano.
Community Music Placement: Hannah Carr-Murphy from the World Academy of Music worked with 5th Class under the Community Music Work Placement.
Thank you to Milford NS Band who supported all school occasions as usual this year, Communion, Confirmation and their participation in the Band Spectacular in the Shannon Airport. Congratulations and many thanks to our wonderful band members and band leaders Ms. Reidy, Ms. Taylor, Ms. O’Meara, Ms. Ryan and Ms Fenton who give so much time to all of these endeavours.
The Board gave financial support to many in-school music workshops this year such as the Drumming Workshops and the Music Generation workshops which were ongoing in the school all year, culminating in a fantastic concert in Thomand Park in June. Thank you to Angela Reidy for co-ordinating all these musical programmes.
Educational Events Throughout the Year:
Maths Week: There were lots of activities taking place throughout the school for Maths week which was held in October, with the emphasis on “Maths for All”. Classes from Junior Infants up to Sixth engaged in fun and practical maths activities and challenges. Many thanks to Ms. Doody for coordinating everything.
Scór na bPáistí: The County Final of Scór na bPáistí was held in The Millennium Theatre, LIT, on Friday the 31st March 2017. The Ballad Group (Saoirse Exton, Julia Frigola Ward, Genevieve Hayes, Emily O’Halloran and Rachel Murray) and the Music Group (Saoirse Exton, Alex Arbuzova, Emily O’Halloran, Ríona Walsh, Niamh Walsh) achieved first place. The Recitation by Charlotte Allen was awarded Second Place. In the Solo Singing category, Saoirse Exton received a Highly Recommended award. Congratulations to all the pupils involved and many thanks to teachers Ms. Yvonne Newman, Ms. Emma Dolphin and Ms. Deirdre Taylor for their efforts in preparing the children so brilliantly.
Science week: Science Week was held in November. Children from Junior Infants to Sixth Class had a wonderful week of predicting, observing, recording and participating in some fantastic scientific experiments.
Children Christmas Events: Christmas events were hugely entertaining- the Junior Pageants, Christmas Choral Night, the Christmas Eve pageant, concerts, Santa visit- thank you to all!
Strawberry Workshop: Ms. Elaine Storan (Parent & UL student) visited Aaron Gallagher’s Fourth class on Friday 9th June to give a workshop on the strawberry plant. As part of her studies, Elaine has completed an ICT teaching resource on the theme of strawberries. The resource is available to everyone in our school to use. The children were even given strawberry plants to bring home. Many thanks to Elaine for sharing her time, expertise and resources with the children and staff.
Sinéad Kane Visit: Sinéad Kane visited our school on Thursday 8th June at 11am. Classes from 4th, 5th, 6th were invited to hear her speak in the Don Bosco Centre and engaged and then engage in a question and answer session. Sinéad is an inspirational Irish athlete, having completed the World Challenge Marathon Challenge this year. This is all the more remarkable, considering that she is blind. She has entered the record books as the first blind athlete in the world to complete this challenge. Sinéad is also a qualified solicitor. The visit came about after Sinéad kindly accepted Jodie O’Neill’s (Sixth Class pupil) invitation to visit. Milford NS made a donation of €200 to Sinéad’s chosen charity, Cliona’s foundation. Many thanks to Fr. John Horan for facilitating the visit in the Don Bosco Centre and to Ms. Siobhán Fenton for coordinating the whole event.
Milford Gazette: Well done to the editors and contributors to the school magazine Ms Elaine Rael for her guidance and direction. The Summer 2017 edition of the Milford Gazette is now on the school website.
Parent Council Events: Many thanks to the Parents’ Council, Nicola Twomey and her team, for their fund-raising efforts on behalf of Milford School. Events such as the Irish Clothing Recycling Collection, Cake Sales, Líadan Concert and the Race Night raised valuable funds for our school. Many thanks to all the parents who supported these fund-raising ventures.
Milford Quiz Team. Special thanks to Ms. Rael, Ms. Dolphin, Ms Larkin and Ms. O’Meara for giving up their lunchtimes to work with the quiz team. Milford Quiz Team met every Wednesday at lunchtime to practise and the pupils have been very busy travelling to different competitions representing the school. Well done to all the pupils involved.
Debate Team: Congratulations to the Debate Team on reaching the finals of the Concern Limerick County Primary Schools Debating Competition. They did a fantastic job proposing the motion, “War is always wrong, no matter what”, but were narrowly defeated by Kildimo NS. Robert did his team proud by winning “Best Speaker” on the day. Well done to Molly, Daragh, Robert, Beth, Saoirse and Lauren on a great years debating! Thanks to Ms. O’Meara, Ms. Larkin and Ms. Rael for all their hard work in preparing the debate team for each stage of the competition this year.
Teddy-Bears Hospital: In March, children from Juniors, Seniors and First attended a session in the UL Teaching Hospital run by the Medical Faculty in UL. This event aims to alleviate children’s fears about going to the doctor or to hospital. It was a great success, as usual.
Baking Demonstration: Ms. Moloney’s second class pupils were invited to the Castletroy Park Hotel on Monday the 3rd of April to create Easter treats. Pupils had the opportunity to work as pastry chefs for the day baking and decorating tasty Easter muffins. All students helped to mix the ingredients for the muffins and once the muffins were baked. Tommy the pastry chef showed everyone how to decorate them using icing, piping bags, sprinkles and sweets.
Student Council: Thank you to the student council and to Ms Ryan for their work. The student council organised Friendship Weeks and a Book Swap event. The Student Council also encouraged pupils and staff to partake in random acts of kindness during and to continue to be mindful of our school anti-bullying policy. They also organised a visit from cyber safety expert, Mr. Ger Brick in February. During the summer term the council members organised the playing of ‘friendship’ songs on the yard for a week as the boys and girls played their games.
History Workshop: On Thursday, June 15th, the school had a visit from historian Michael Moylan. All classes got the opportunity to listen to stories and to learn about a specific period in history. These ranged from the Vikings through to World War 1 and World War 2. Michael brought various clothes, armour, helmets and weapons from different eras. Some of the children even got an opportunity to try on the outfits and test the equipment. Many thanks to Mr. Brian Kelly for organising the visit.
Design Project: Earlier this year, second class pupils at Milford NS were asked to collaborate with UL Year 3 Technology Education students in designing their ideal classroom chair. They duly accepted the challenge and the results were fantastic. Designs included pencil and iPad holders, colourful designs, comfortable cushions and clever storage. In December, the second class students were invited to UL to see their designs come to life. Milford pupils had the opportunity to meet the UL students they were partnered with, and were able to discuss their designs. Many thanks to Dr. Keelin Leahy for organising this wonderful experience for the children.
Junior Entrepreneur Programme: The Board commends Ms Larkin and her 5th Class for their business acumen and entrepreneurship. Many thanks are due to all those who contributed to the success of ‘Squishease’. Thanks you to Ms. Mullowney, Ms. Meehan, Ms. Falvey, Mr. Joe Pond and to class teacher Ms. Larkin for organising the whole event.
Fitness Fortnight: Fitness Fortnight began on Monday 19th June. Pupils are engaged in a range of activities such as the egg & spoon races and three-legged races, the Rope Challenge, skipping, rounders, Class marathons, school/class distance runs using the Map My Run app, playground games (Hop scotch and 100-square games etc) and Fitness & Fun days for classes.
Medal Presentation: Munster and Ireland rugby star, Keith Earls, kindly visited our school on 26th June 2017 to present medals to the hurling and camogie teams. He also spoke to the children and answered their many interesting questions. Before Keith left, he visited Junior infants and surprised them with ice creams! Many thanks to Ms. Yvonne Newman for organising the event and a special word of thanks to Keith Earls for making it to the school just after a long haul flight and a series of tour matches in Japan.
Hermitage Green Visit: The children were treated to a fantastic surprise in December when Hermitage Green visited our school. The band played a selection of songs and displayed remarkable stage presence to keep over 500 children (Junior Infants to Sixth Class) mesmerised in their music for the entirety of the ‘gig’. As the band rocked out their music the pupils and staff sang, clapped, danced and cheered along in chorus to every beat and lyric. It was a Tuesday like no other and provided a wonderful springboard for the pupils to perform their own version of ‘Quicksand’ later on as part of their annual Christmas Choral Night. Many thanks to Glen Anderson, for arranging the visit, and also to Hermitage Green for taking time away from their busy schedule & rehearsals. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Darragh, Dan and Barry, Dermot and Darragh for sharing their talents with us. It was an amazing experience!
Fís Film Entry: The children from Mr. Gallagher’s and Ms. O’Meara’s Fourth Classes researched the Great Famine that hit Ireland in the 1840’s. The children developed stories based on families leaving their homes in search of a new life in America. They then went on to produce a movie based on their stories. Their film entry may be watched on our school website.
Book Fair: There was quite a buzz around Milford NS in October as the children got the opportunity to visit and buy books if they wished. The success of the Book Fair was guaranteed by the wonderful team of Parents Council members who acted as stewards, librarians, stocktakers and accountants throughout the week. A special word of thanks to Nicola Twomey who liaised and coordinated throughout. Our Book Fair total spend was €7,007.70 which earns us a whopping €4,204.62 to spend on literacy and numeracy resources: library books, reading kits, guided readers, maths kits literacy and numeracy equipment.
School Garden: Our Green School’s Coordinator, Mr. Denis O’Connor and his team have been very busy this year in our school garden. The garden was dug, rotavated, raked, fertilised and new raised beds were constructed. The children planted vegetable seeds and plants. Many thanks to Joe Pond, James Ryan, Denis O’Connor and all the teachers and parents who have helped out. Your hard work is paying dividends! Hopefully, we will have a good harvest in the autumn!
Green Schools Global Citizenship and Marine Environment: Members of Mr. Gallagher’s Fourth Class attended the Green Schools Global Citizenship and Marine Environment Conference in Dublin on the 6th December where they displayed and presented their project on the Dangers of Human Impact on the Rocky Shore. They spoke to influential members of European Committees and expressed their concern of the environmental impact of plastic and suggestions for alternatives. The school’s Green School Committee then organised our first Ocean Awareness Day in February. A slideshow of the event may be watched on the school website. Well done also to all the parents and children who continue to support WOW and COW days.
Wildlife Expert: Wildlife expert, Geoff Hunt has been in residence throughout the school year, continuing the themes of “Trees, Seeds and Habitats”. The children had a wonderful time throughout the year exploring the River Shannon and the environs around UL where they discovered many insects and river creatures. The younger children went in search of butterflies and had great fun pond dipping. Many thanks to Ms. Siobhán Fenton for coordinating the Heritage in Schools programme for our school.
STEM AWARD: The Board congratulates Ms Quinlan and Ms Munnelly and all the staff of Milford NS for the huge work done towards achieving this prestigious award for excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
THE BOARD WISHES TO EXPRESS ITS DEEP APPRECIATION TO ALL TEACHERS WHO GIVE SO MUCH OF THEIR TIME TO EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITES, THE SPORTS TRAINING, SHAKIN’WITH SHAKESPEARE CLUB, KNITTING CLUB, SCRATCH COMPUTING CLUB, SCIENCE CLUB, THE DEBATE TEAM, THE MILFORD GAZETTE, THE BAND, THE CHOIR, RAINBOWS AND MUCH MORE.
Great Limerick Run and UL SPORTS KIDS RUN: Congratulations to all the pupils from our school who ran in the UL Sport Children’s Run for Fun at the Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run 2017 on Saturday, April 29. This fun event was sponsored by UL Sport and was organised by Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run in conjunction with Limerick Sports Partnership and the HSE. Huge thanks to all the children’s parents and guardians for encouraging their children to participate in such a wonderful event.
Policy Update: In 2016/2017 the Board has reviewed and updated the following policies:
Child Protection Policy, Anti-Bullying Policy, Enrolment Policy, Health & Safety Statement, Job Sharing Policy, Employee Expenses Policy and EPV Policy.
Building & Maintenance: Carpets were replaced in six classrooms. Three carpets that were very grubby were cleaned. The boiler was serviced in anticipation of the resumption of winter heating. New storage solution for classrooms. They also double up as extra seating at the back of the room. Noticeboards were rearranged, new shelving erected, the staff room, toilets, main corridors and three classrooms were painted. Power washing and general clean up of the outside areas were completed throughout the year.
Standardised Assessment Tests, School Self-Evaluation and School Improvement Plan:
SAT results for all classes were reported to the BoM. The results this year show improvement in all areas. The Board expresses its appreciation to all the staff for their hard work toward the achievement of targets identified in the School Improvement Plan (c.f. www.milfordns.ie)
The BoM commends the school on its progress towards the achievement of Action Plan targets on the Numeracy SIP- the provision of a Maths information booklet on the school website and also the provision of a Maths methodology and Maths Language Booklet to each family in September (also available on school web-site) for which many parents have expressed appreciation this year. Maths trails in the summer term, as well as the use of i-pads and improved proficiency in Maths, should do a lot towards achieving another important target – making Maths more fun and enjoyable for children. Numeracy Workout licence renewed to allow pupils the opportunity to engage with maths at home. Bee-Bots purchased to introduce coding with the younger classes. And Scratch coding after school continues with the older classes.
The BoM also commends the school on its progress in Literacy. Milford NS is currently a Digital School of excellence. Genre writing, in particular has been enhanced through the additional purchase of ipads and Chrome-books. In-class literacy support continues to be a feature of SEN approach and the practice of Station Teaching, Team Teaching is evidenced throughout the school. The Primary Language Curriculum continues to be explored at school level and resourced at school level. The 2017 reviewed English plan incorporates the new approach to Oral Language through the identification of reached milestones in language, using progression steps to further oral language skills, Junior Infants to Second Class.
A huge thank you is due to all the parents that supported fundraising efforts during the year. We have seen an increase in the contributions by parents to the gym fund via standing order or annual donation. For every donation of €250 or above the school can claim a tax refund from the Revenue Commissioners which is a welcome boost to the gym fundraising efforts. In addition income raised at fundraising events go towards the funding of the gym loan and the total raised from events was €15,442. The Ulster Bank loan on the gym stands at €310,000 at May 2017 and based on current repayment levels and the continued support of parents it is expected that this will be cleared in just over six years. The school’s financial year ends on 31 August and the last set of accounts to 31 August 2016 showed the total school income as €348,954. The total school expenses amount to €337,531 so for year there was an excess of income over expenditure of €11,423. The main costs that the school has to meet are wages, cleaning, light and heat, insurance, repairs and IT expenses. The excess is mainly due to the income for the gym exceeding the expenditure as the repayment of the capital value of the loan is not included in the income and expenditure account. A large number of activities are provided by the school and it is important that the running of these activities does not place an additional financial burden on the school. The BOM will continue to review these activities to ensure that the appropriate costs are charged for extra activities.
Finally, a huge word of thanks to all the staff in Milford School for the tremendous dedication and commitment toward upholding the philosophy of the Milford Mission Statement – “providing a holistic education for our children where potential and uniqueness of mind, heart, body and spirit are fostered and celebrated”, while also upholding our strong academic ethos.
Board of Management, Milford National School – Liam de Búrca, Karen Frawley, Valerie O’Hanlon, Louise Hill, Dave Williams, Diarmaid Moore, Fr John Horan and John Field.