On song at St Vincent’s
Sir, – My name is Sinéad Healy. I am the fifth-class teacher quoted in the article “How to get Ireland’s schools singing” (Health + Family, December 17th). We have been working with Helen Doyle since November 2017 and have loved every minute of it. It is fun and hugely engaging for the girls. Her enthusiasm and love of singing and music shine through.
However, the article may have given the impression that the children are not exposed at all to music teaching or learning in our school , and that their work with Ms Doyle is their only musical experience. I quote: ‘The schoolgirls . . . aren’t involved in singing, choirs or learning music” .
This is far from the case. Music is part of our national curriculum and must be taught, like every other subject, and is an intrinsic part of the weekly timetable.
At St Vincent’s Girls School, we have been fortunate to be part of a co-teaching model in partnership with the Music Department at Trinity College Dublin. Every Monday we co-teach with first-year Trinity music students. This initiative has been in place in our school for the past four years. The girls are in their third year of learning to play the ukulele. Two of our staff members, Ms McNamara and Ms Fox, lead a school choir comprising of approximately 30 students. The girls’ enthusiasm means they arrive at school two mornings a week at 8.30am to sing their hearts out! They perform regularly at school events and they recently performed for Minister for Education Richard Bruton, who visited the school last November.
Music was the additional subject inspected in our whole-school evaluation carried out by the Department of Education in April 2016. The report states that, “Pupils display a keen interest in music with teaching and learning in this subject being of a very high quality”.
Ms Doyle is an invaluable asset to the ongoing music education in St Vincent’s GNS, and I am looking forward to working with her enthusiastic expertise in 2018. – Yours, etc,