Coláiste Pobail Osraí: ‘a structured and accommodating approach’

Induction programme promotes a sense of shared responsibility for learning and development

 

School name: Coláiste Pobail Osraí

School type: Co-educational, multi-denominational school

Principal: Cathnia Ó Muircheartaigh

Medium of instruction: Gaeilge

Subject options: A wide selection of subjects are available for both Junior and Leaving Cert

Interesting fact: Students can get involved in the affairs of the school by participating in Dáil na Scoile, the school’s representative body for students. Dáil na Scoile works to improve the school through partnership with school management, the parents’ council and the teaching staff

Web: osrai.ie

Located in the heart of Kilkenny city, Coláiste Pobail Osraí is a small, co-educational, multi-denominational school. Teaching and learning is conducted through the medium of Irish.

The school provides a structured induction programme spanning the junior cycle, developing students’ confidence, self-esteem and a sense of shared responsibility for their own learning and development.

Before 2006, the school’s Irish-medium education was delivered through an aonad (unit) attached to an English-medium school, with two different sets of teachers. Today, this aonad model is proving increasingly contentious, with the Irish-medium sector expressing concerns about a lack of guidance from the Department of Education and principals torn between the different demands required by the two models under their control.

Principal Cathnia Ó Muircheartaigh says staff are committed to providing an excellent educational environment. “All teachers engage both collectively and independently, continuously developing their classroom methods. Their efforts are actively supported by the school’s professional development group, ‘Teaching-Learning in the 21st century’. Most teachers are involved in reflective practice or are involved in research around teaching and learning with all teachers now partaking in the Magenta Principles programme. This adds to the positive teaching and learning atmosphere in the coláiste.”

Bilingualism

Ó Muircheartaigh is a strong advocate for bilingualism. “The bilingual student has been academically proven to have better cognitive, communicative and linguistic skills and increased tolerance and self-esteem,” he says.

“By connecting the content with the appropriate language skills, students acquire a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the subject while further developing their linguistic skills. “

Lessons and assessments operate using strategies that benefit all learners equally, says Ó Muircheartaigh. Students with extra-educational needs are individually supported and catered for through various supports and initiatives, from team teaching to extra language supports.

All teachers and students use iPads, Microsoft Teams and flipped classroom strategies – where students learn lessons at home through the use of video, textbooks and online material, while “homework” is carried out in the school – as well as recording some of their classes to share with other students as extra supports for learning.

While technology is a prominent feature of the classrooms of Coláiste Pobail Osraí, there are other teacher and student-led initiatives in the school.

“What sets this school apart from others is the structured and accommodating approach that it takes towards students’ strengths and interests including hurling, football, basketball, debating, music and choral singing, the arts and creative engagement, equestrian sports, Young Scientist, Build-a-Bank, Karebears, Worldwise global schools, drama and athletics.

As a small school working in cooperation with St Kieran’s College, Coláiste Pobail Osraí has been able to provide a greater subject choice than many other smaller schools while still maintaining the main benefit of being a small school: small class sizes.

The school recently received approval for a new build on a greenfield site; an architect has been appointed. “There is growing demand,” says Ó Muircheartaigh.