'Tarmon matters' Campaign battles against the odds to keep school open

Tarmon NS seeks new families to enrol in the school

Fiona Heavey

Reporter:

Fiona Heavey

'Tarmon matters' Campaign battles against the odds to keep school open

Tarmon matters

The 'Tarmon Matters' school campaign is hoping to secure a future for St Patrick’s NS which is dropping numbers dramatically and facing the threat of closure.


Principal Fiona Reynolds said they have been left with no choice but to follow in “Kilty’s footsteps” and try to encourage families to move to the area and enrol in the immaculate all-inclusive school.


Situated between Drumshanbo and Drumkeerin, the two teacher school (with a Special Education Teacher) has been the heart of the community since 1958. The school currently has 19 pupils, but over the next two years are set to lose 7, with the prospect of only gaining 2 in that time. The cut-off for a two teacher school is 18 and if they lose a teacher this year, the fear is that the following year the school could be closed.


(Úna Burke doing craft work with the pupils of Tarmon NS this week)

The local community are adamant that they will not be another statistic. They are fighting back and are proactively seeking out families in Ireland and abroad to encourage them to move to Tarmon.
With the help of local politicians and members of Kilty Live they are promoting houses to rent and buy in the area, and are contacting people who had put their names on the waiting list for Kiltyclogher. One of the committee members is promoting the area in America to Irish Americans.


Tarmon NS has fine sporting facilities, is equipped with up to date technology and resources and enjoys GAA coaching 12 weeks every year along with a tin whistle tutor, workshops from artists, crafts people and a variety of visits from people of interest each year as well as school trips.


Principal Fiona Reynolds said the children in her class get half an hour personal tutoring each day. With Drumkeerin NS only 6 kms away, Ms Reynolds said it will be hard for the school to appeal any cut in teachers, or closure. Strabraggan NS is also close by and Tarmon NS do not want to encroach on either.


International fashion designer Úna Burke from Cootehall was visiting the school over the past week showing children how to work with leather and designing beautiful pieces. The creator who has worked with pop stars said she knows first hand the benefits of a rural school. She said children get to stray a little from the curriculum to try out other skills and she said “Tarmon need to take advantage of the housing crisis around the country,” by inviting people to a welcoming and safe community.

(Katie Hutton, Sprecial Education Needs Teacher, Principal Fiona Reynolds, Designer Úna Burke and Ass Principal Jacqueline Ryan in Tarmon NS.)


To contact the Tarmon Matters campaign call 0852053931 or email tarmonmatters@gmail.com. Visit: www.tarmon-school.com or Facebook.com/tarmon-school
To contact the school directly call 0719648306 or email stpatsnstarmon@gmail.com

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