Unlike Tarmon, St Joseph’s NS in Aughavas is not in danger of closing, but the staff and parents are very aware that, unless they take a pro-active role now, they could face losing a teacher in the coming years.
At present there are 53 pupils in the school but 8 are moving on to second level education in September. A further 12 pupils will be moving on to secondary school in September 2019 and, as School Principal, Seamus Tiernan acknowledges, the next two years will be a challenging time for the school.
Aughavas is unusual in that it has no traditional village hub but it boasts a very active GAA Club, a pub which serves as a shop and Post Office, a community centre, two churches and an excellent national school.
The school consistently punches above its weight. In 2017 they celebrated achieving their 7th Green Schools Flag for the theme Global Citizenship and Energy. Students also take part in the Active School and Discover Primary Science awards.
Children get the opportunity to play Gaelic football and soccer, take swimming lessons, play basketball and represent Aughavas at the Community Games.
Unlike bigger urban schools, in Aughavas every student has the opportunity to represent the school in competitions and events. There is huge pride of place and a real sense of community there.
This is also reflected in the wider community and locals have rowed in behind the drive to secure student and teacher numbers at the school.
This has led to the creation of a campaign - Aughavas Community Calling - aimed at encouraging more families to move into the locality.
The committee behind the campaign draws members from throughout the community - parents and non-parents alike. It has representatives from the local GAA, ICA, Men's Shed, Community Centre Committee, school staff and School Parents Association as well as members from the wider community.
People recognise that securing the future of the school is essential to ensuring the future of the local community.
“Everything in the community is linked, the school, the GAA club, the population, so this campaign isn't just about the school, it's about the whole community,” explains Mr Tiernan.
Aughavas Community Calling has already completed a survey of properties for sale and rent in the locality and a facebook page - Aughavas Community Calling - has been created as an information hub. This page highlights not just the achievements and benefits of the local school, it also includes links to local events and job opportunities and highlights the quality of life offered to those considering a move to the area.
The school children themselves are also joining in the campaign and are responsible for designing the campaign's logos and picking the campaign name. Students have also filmed videos highlighting why St Joseph's NS is so special!
In recent years a number of families with no links to the community have already moved to Aughavas and they have rowed in behind the campaign by talking about their experience in moving to the area and what a difference it has made to their lives and families.
The campaign has already featured on Ray D'Arcy's programme on RTE Radio 1 and local media and the hope is this will encourage families to come and visit Aughavas, speak with the staff at the school and talk to those who have made a similar move.
“If you are a family maybe living in Dublin with both parents working long hours, or have long commutes and little time with your family, a move to an area like Aughavas offers a different pace of life, what we feel is a better quality of life,” says Mr Tiernan.
“We are saying to people, consider moving here, not only is the cost of living much less, property is more affordable and you'll be able to spend more time with your family in a beautiful area.”
For more information www.facbook.com/
You can also visit St Joseph's NS's website http://stjosephsnsaughavas.scoilnet.ie/blog/
Phone the school directly on (071) 9636326. email: firstname.lastname@example.org