The very first all-new Church of Ireland National School to have been opened since the foundation of the state has reached a significant milestone. St Peter’s National School in Dunboyne, Co Meath is celebrating its tenth birthday, having first opened its doors on 1st September 2004.
Obviously many Church of Ireland National Schools have been built since the foundation of the state. However, at its opening St Peter’s was the first new school to have been established in a location where none had existed beforehand.
As the school marks this significant anniversary it does so with a sense of celebration and enthusiasm for all that has been achieved. Like a lot of birthdays this celebration will come complete with a party and a cake! The party is in the form of a concert (ticket only) in the Dunboyne Castle Hotel on 5th June. Children from the school will be performing for the wide array of invited guests, including present pupils, parents, local politicians and other dignitaries.
St Peter’s National School began with 23 pupils and two teachers, with just 2 pupils in its Senior Infants class. The first classes were taught in Dunboyne parish hall. As the school grew classes moved to Portakabin classrooms in the adjoining grounds, with new classrooms being added every year.
Ten years later and St Peter’s has 98 pupils and six teachers. Whilst still being accommodated in temporary accommodation it looks forward to a time when it will be able to be accommodated in more permanent facilities.
St Peter’s is the parish school for Dunboyne and Rathmolyon Group of Parishes. The rector is Rev Janice Aiton. Before it opened in 2004 there was no National School in the parish group, an area of some 200 square miles. At that time children had travelled to school in other parishes including Lucan, Navan, Castleknock, or attended locally.
The growth of St Peter’s has taken place under the leadership of Ms Joy Smith, who has been Principal from the opening of the school. She talks warmly of how “the whole of the surrounding community has been behind the establishment and development of St Peter’s school from the very beginning”. In fact there is now a monthly meeting of all school Principals in the area, as well as a very supportive Parents Group.
Whilst being the parish school for Dunboyne and Rathmolyon group St Peter’s welcomes children of all faith backgrounds. Joan Bruton, a member of the Board of Management, says the school “is a symbol of how the Church of Ireland sees itself as a part of the community. We could not exist without the wonderful support of our neighbours”.