By Lynsey Dreaper
Ashbourne's Educate Together National School opened its doors in September 2012 and each morning welcomes 40 junior infants split between two classes.
The school moved to its current premises beside Ashbourne Community Centre in November, where principal Barbara Nugent works to ensure that teachers, parents and pupils are cared for under the ethos of the Educate Together system.
Educate Together is a state run operation and this multi-denominational system is based on embracing everyone's beliefs and values. This encourages inclusivity where individuals are made to feel unique and welcome and at no stage is any child made to feel like an outsider.
The school has two classroom teachers, a full-time language support teacher, a part-time learning support teacher and a special needs assistant. The classrooms are bursting with colour as drawings, paintings and posters adorn the walls and hang from the ceiling.
The children are engaged at all times by an attentive staff in the prefabricated classrooms that are to house the school until a permanent building has been completed. Prefabricated classrooms have come a long way over the years, and this deceptively large premises has seven classrooms and a learning support room, is warm and bright and has more than enough space to welcome next year's arrivals.
The Educate Together enrolment system works on a first come, first served basis and the pre-enrolment form can be downloaded from the school website www.ashbourneeducatetogether.ie, alternatively parents can call (01) 8357493 for further information.
Next week offers will be sent out for places for Junior Infants for the 2013/2014 year and limited places are available for next year's Senior Infants class.
Barbara Nugent is young and dynamic and knows her school inside out. She also extends the policy of inclusion to the parents of the pupils and to the community, "We encourage parental involvement and are very lucky to have such wonderful parents in Ashbourne ETNS. We have a strong Parents Association and parents are always on board to help out. For example, when we moved from the parish offices to our new location, parents helped to move the furniture and they had a bag pack drive in December which raised €925 for the school."
Barbara has also been impressed by the welcome the school has received from the community, ranging from the community centre to the parish office, other local schools, local businesses and the people of Ashbourne. A town as progressive and large as Ashbourne recognises the need for greater resources and a primary school of this calibre can only be an addition to the town. Barbara is on hand to answer any questions and is ready to welcome the next wave of pupils come September.