This is the second five-year plan developed by our learning community. To read about our previous school plan include the review reports, please follow this link: School Plan 2017-2022.

1.     School Details

1.1      Background

1.2      The School in Numbers

1.3      Premises and Facilities

1.4      Governance Activities

2.     Vision & Mission

2.1      Vision

2.2      Mission

3.     Curriculum Plans

4.     Policies

5.     Consultation

5.1        SCOT Analysis Completed in Consultation with Parents, Staff Members and Board Members

5.2        Children’s Wishes for the School

6.     Development Objectives and Actions

7.     Ratification and Review

1.     School Details

1.1   Background

Knocknacarra Educate Together National School (KETNS) was established in 2014, under the patronage of Educate Together, in response to a demographic need for additional primary school places in the Knocknacarra area.

This background has influenced the school in two key ways:

  • The Educate Together ethos informs all aspects of the school including its governance, teaching and social activities.
  • The demographic growth of the Knocknacarra area has been fuelled by the migration of people to the area. This is reflected in the diverse backgrounds of the pupils.

This diversity partnered with the Educate Together ethos has seen a school character emerge which has at its heart:

Child-centred – While recognising the rights of all stakeholders including parents, guardians, staff, board of management, the patron and the Department of Education and Skills, the needs of the children will remain at the heart of all decision making. The overriding ambition is for all children to be happy and to nurture them so that they can achieve their potential within a supportive academic environment that encourages high expectations.

Community – There is a strong desire to build a school community which takes an active role in the wider community based on values of active citizenship and civic responsibility.

Inclusion – Our school community endeavours to make a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels including governance, teaching and social activities.

These characteristics will inform the development objectives of the school plan. This is a new school and the school community recognise that we are the creators. This is a privilege but also a responsibility which the school community takes seriously. This is our second five-year school plan.  It is a living document that is being developed and by the Board of Management (BOM) in consultation with the Parent Teachers Association (PTA), the staff and children of the school. It is a plan for all of the school community, and therefore, all members of our learning community are asked participate in this exciting journey to create a new school community.

1.2   The School in Numbers

1StreamThe school has one class level for each of the 8 years of primary school.
8ClassesWe have one class at each level from Junior Infants to 6th Class.
8Members of the Board of ManagementChairperson and Patron Nominee: Paul Adams
Patron Nominee: Maggie Hall
Secretary and Principal: Matt Wallen
Teacher Nominee: Vivienne Kelly
Female Parent Nominee: Liz Daly
Male Parent Nominee: Aneil Rawat
Community Nominee: Elaine Keane
Community Nominee: Louise Shields
18Staff2022-2023 Staff
1 Administrative Principal
8 Class Teachers
3 Full-time Learning Support Teachers
1 Part-time Support Teacher based in another school (10 hrs., 0.4 FTE)
2 Full-time Inclusion Support Assistants (ISAs)
1 Part-time ISA
1 Secretary
1 Cleaner
214 Pupils2022-2023 Enrolment
26 in Junior Infants
27 in Senior Infants
27 in First Class
27 in Second Class
29 in Third Class
25 in Fourth Class
28 in Fifth Class
25 in Sixth Class


1.3   Premises and Facilities

The school has been located in permanent accommodation since Autumn 2018 at An Coimín Mór, Cappagh Road, Knocknacarra, Galway, H91 Y38E.  The accommodation is comprised of eight mainstream classrooms, one staff room, two offices, a multi-purpose room, one small classroom for support teaching and one prefab also used for support teaching.  There is a large tarmac play area at the front of the school, a large green space adjacent to the school and another green space adjacent to the pre-fab.   There are two internal courtyards as well as garden areas at the front of the school and behind the building.  Cuan na Gaillimhe CNS (formerly Galway Steiner NS) is on the same campus, accommodated in prefabs at the rear of the site. 

1.4   Governance Activities  

 Responsible officerTimeline
1.1Review of School PlanBOMAnnually
1.2 Review progress of Development ActionsBOM/PTATermly
1.3Review school policiesBOMAs required by policy
1.4Publication of agreed reports of BOM meetingsPrincipalMonthly
1.5Certification and reporting school accountsBOMAnnually
1.6Appointment of new Board of ManagementPatronNovember 2023

2.     Vision & Mission

2.1   Vision

To support the ongoing development of a child-centred school community which values inclusion, diversity and the unique talents of all.

2.2   Mission

  • To nurture each pupil, encouraging them to use their unique talents so that they reach their potential in all areas including academic subjects, the arts, sport and social skills.
  • To create a community which is inclusive of all and takes an active role in promoting active citizenship.
  • To create an atmosphere where pupils, staff, parents and the community feel safe, respected and valued and which develops a love of learning.

3.     Curriculum Plans

An Ghaeilge201720212026
Learn Together202120212024
Digital Learning201820182023
SESE (History, Geography and Science)201920192024
Arts (Visual Arts, Music and Drama)202020202025

4.     Policies

Additional Education Needs201620222026
After School Clubs201620222025
Child Safeguarding Statement201520232024
Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying201520222023
Communication (including Grievance Procedure)201620232026
Continuing Professional Development201920192023
Critical Incidents201620222025
Data Management and Data Protection201620202023
Dignity in the Workplace201720222025
Distance Learning Policy202020202023
Equality of Access and Participation201720212024
Exceptional Closures201620222025
Extra Personal Vacation (EPV) Days201720202023
Financial Procedures and Protocols202020202023
Garda Vetting Policy201520212024
Health and Safety201520232024
Healthy Eating201620212024
In-school Management Team201920222025
Internet Acceptable Usage201720202023
Job Sharing and Career Breaks201620202023
Mobile Phone and Electronic Devices201820222025
Off-site Learning Experiences201720212024
Parental Involvement202120212024
Protected Disclosures in the Workplace202220222025
Pupil Committees202320232026
Relationships and Sexuality Education202120212024
Social Media and School Website201620202023
Staffing Allocation201820212024
Staff Induction201920192023
Substance Use201620222025
Work Placements and Student Teachers201720212024


5.     Consultation

This section summarises a consultation process involving parents, Board members, staff and children regarding short- and long-term expectations for our developing school community. 

5.1              SCOT Analysis Completed in Consultation with Parents, Staff Members and Board Members

A Community Meeting was held on a Sunday afternoon on 29th January 2023.  Staff members also completed a SCOT analysis during a staff meeting on 7th February 2023.  In addition, parents who were unable to attend the community meeting were given the opportunity to submit a response through an online survey.  All ideas have been included below, with the most repeated ideas listed first in each category.


  • Teacher-student relationships are positive
  • Strong skill set and relationships among staff with different backgrounds who are well-rounded and dedicated
  • Openness as part of ethos fosters positivity and a democratic approach
  • Afterschool clubs – extensive and popular
  • Energy and commitment of principal as a leader
  • Great location – access to local natural amenities like Barna Woods, Cappagh Park and beaches
  • Small, personal community as a single-stream school
  • Enthusiastic, passionate staff and parents
  • Emphasis on positive, respectful approach to managing behaviour where conflict resolution is prioritised
  • No uniform
  • No undue academic pressure – non-competitive nature
  • Inclusivity and diversity, multicultural, multiple nationalities, various faiths/religions
  • Openness, approachability of staff
  • Grounds/space
  • Arts education incorporated across the curriculum
  • Open to possibilities
  • Leadership
  • Community events
  • New and still developing
  • Children involved democratically in the life of the school through committees
  • The afterschool and breakfast club – well-run and a great service for families
  • A sense of shared values and understandings
  • Great track record gaining flags and recognition (Green Flag, Active Flag, Creative Schools)
  • Well-established
  • End-of-term shows – builds community
  • A sense of pride in the school that children feel
  • Extra supports provided by resource teachers
  • Good at identifying extra help children need
  • Teachers changing roles – mainstream vs support – great for developing understanding
  • Evolving community – students joining the school at different times


  • Space, particularly to support effective support teaching
  • One photocopier and printer
  • Drop-offs and collection
  • Resourcing and building on a school library
  • Access to Educate Together secondary school places
  • No school bus
  • Football pitch on the green – restricted to tarmac or halla in bad weather
  • Day events are difficult for parents
  • Additional supports for children who require them
  • Consistent heating in some areas
  • Small halla
  • Maintaining high expectations for behaviour
  • Better fence around school grounds
  • Security – night time trespassing
  • How to engage parents more
  • Continuing to foster positive relationships with local residents
  • Afterschool – sharing space, subconscious behaviour
  • Communication
  • Maintaining high standards
  • Dangerous u-turns and parking
  • Finding ways to involve all members of the school community and have everyone’s voices heard
  • Ensuring safe, respectful and appropriate use of internet outside school
  • Students graduating to secondary school being offered a suitable place
  • Location – we are classed as a city school but city amenities are a bus journey away
  • Funding access, more control on fundraising
  • No caretaker
  • Website is a bit unwieldy
  • Integration of students joining the school – language, supports
  • Another school on the premises
  • Transition from Educate Together primary to non-Educate Together secondary schools
  • Inconsistency in level/standard of Irish learned each year (spoken)
  • Decreasing parental involvement


  • Enhance outdoor learning by improving outdoor spaces and creating an outdoor classroom
  • Refresh the staffroom to promote wellbeing
  • Development of a youth club to engage local young people and past pupils
  • Intro to music, musical instruments above infant classes
  • Creating a sensory space
  • More social events for parents
  • Review of programmes, teaching methods and textbooks
  • School trips (museums/theatre/nature)
  • Encouraging pupils to lobby for green issuesDedicated preschool on premises
  • Develop part of the grass to astroturf
  • Extra space when neighbours move
  • Bullying awareness
  • Energy efficiency upgrades
  • Front layout redesigned for safe drop-off
  • Participation in local tournaments
  • Expand class libraries
  • Park-and-stride options and opportunities to encourage active and green travel to school including cycles lanes and programmes – liaise with the Council re green issues
  • Develop the yard
  • Mural changes
  • Community links and links with other Educate Together schools
  • Homework review
  • Co-location – planning for the future
  • Walking bus – with multiple routes
  • Diverse parent community to tap in to
  • Fundraising
  • Reinforcing academic, artistic and sporting activities
  • Fence to support security
  • End-of-term gatherings for the whole school
  • Class enterprise projects


  • Parking and drop-off – traffic and access
  • Maintaining relationships with neighbours
  • Not enough places to keep children in an Educate Together secondary school if they wish and ensuring all children have access to a secondary school of choice
  • Anti-social behaviour outside school hours
  • Loss of expertise of teachers leaving
  • A growing community in a small(ish) building
  • Resources/budget
  • Planning issues
  • Space becoming limited
  • Small number of places – lack of access to our school
  • Space, if numbers increase
  • Maintenance of ethos as school grows  


5.2              Children’s Wishes for the School

Children who attended the community meeting also completed an analysis of the school. 

What We Like about Our School

  • The grass area
  • Friends
  • DEAR time (independent reading)
  • Science
  • Four square
  • Yard discos
  • Basketball in the yard
  • Drama
  • PE lessons
  • Maths
  • Football
  • Art
  • Afterschool clubs

What We Would Like for Our School

  • Coding
  • More toys in yard
  • A playground
  • More board games for classes
  • Have a school pet or class pets
  • More creativity
  • More trips
  • More baking
  • Having Aistear beyond infants in every class
  • A school band
  • More table quizzes
  • A school library instead of a small one in each class
  • More afterschool clubs
  • Cooking
  • Less homework
  • Rugby

5.3              Ideas for the School

Parents, children, staff members and parents who attended the community meeting brainstormed the following ideas under certain headings.

Building and Infrastructure

  • Outdoor space – classroom, art and drama, sensory space, sound garden – use the courtyard?
  • All-weather sports area
  • Paint/improve the prefab
  • Covered bicycle shelters
  • Preschool on the premises
  • Murals to personalise the grounds
  • Playground and outdoor play equipment
  • Covered outside area for when it is wet
  • Climbing wall
  • A sign on the building
  • Build a running line/track around the pitch
  • School library
  • Improve the staff room – shelving and seating
  • More efficient energy usage
  • Fence around the school for safety, security
  • Caretaker – gardener, handyman, security
  • An extra room for multiple “extra” uses
  • Learning support rooms
  • Swings, seesaws, climbing wall
  • More varied books in the libraries
  • A pre-school
  • Covered outdoor area for year-round learning
  • School zone with traffic restrictions in front of the school

Initiatives and Activities during the School Day

  • Hot meals for children
  • Beanbags for DEAR time
  • Tai Chi, Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga
  • Minecraft Education Edition
  • Coding in the school day and afterschool
  • Role plays and more students teaching
  • Mondays – make them special
  • Cooking, gardening, building lessons
  • Class pets
  • More mixing of classes together
  • Camping
  • Musical instruments
  • Free-time during the day for quiet activities, more golden time
  • More treats on Fridays
  • More painting
  • Learning about nature
  • Longer yard time
  • More time to eat in a relaxed way
  • More hurling for all classes (only 6th Class does it)
  • School concerts with musicians during the day
  • More artistic and sporting activities
  • School soccer team
  • Cycling lessons
  • Philosophy, making links with University of Galway
  • Options to learn another language

Community Links

  • Social activities, events
  • Sports coaches from local clubs teach certain PE lessons
  • Spring Fair/Open Day/Community events
  • A school bus
  • Partner with local direct provision centre – community events, donations, potlucks
  • Cycle bus
  • Athletic competitions
  • Art competition/exhibition
  • A day where the children of the school can make their own stalls: fortune telling, taste challenge, hair styles
  • Science Club
  • Link with other schools, especially secondary schools and other Educate Together schools
  • Connections with public libraries
  • TULCA and other arts events

Extracurricular Activities for Parents, Children & Staff

  • Workshops on mental health, art, philosophy, yoga and cooking (by and for parents)
  • Mental and emotional wellness initiatives – anxiety, self-image, bullying
  • Sign-language lessons
  • More spaces for afterschool clubs
  • Quizzes
  • A school band
  • Concert in a large venue (evening event)
  • Evening assemblies to allow full participation of families
  • Swimming throughout the year
  • Chess, rugby, drums
  • Increased social events for staff members
  • Opportunities for social events for parents
  • Irish classes for parents


6.     Development Objectives and Actions

Based on the consultation process, it was necessary to identify three objectives as well as prioritise a number of actions, recognising that our capacity to implement everything is limited.

  • To continue to nurture the pupils by developing infrastructure including the building, outdoor spaces and resources.

The Building

 ActionResponsible officerTimeline
1.1Pursue the additional school accommodation application that has been submitted to secure additional teaching spaces for support teachingPrincipal/BOMOngoing
1.2Install a sign on the building to enhance visibilityBOM2023-2024
1.3 Improve the staff room to support staff wellbeingBOM, Principal, Staff2023-2024
1.4Investigate energy efficiency measures for the schoolBOM, Green School2024-2026
1.4Improve the hall floorBOM, Principal2026-2027

Outdoor Spaces

 Action Responsible officerTimeline
2.1 Draft a plan to develop the unused courtyard as a sensory space, outdoor classroom & sound garden Principal, staff, parents2023
2.2Create the sensory space as a sound garden and outdoor classroomPrincipal, staff, parents2023-2025
2.3Liaise with the City and neighbours regarding the parking and traffic management including making the school more friendly for cyclists and pedestriansPrincipal and staff2023-2024
2.4Agree, implement and review a transport management plan that may include walking buses, cycle buses, covered shelters, a new traffic management plan, a gate at the back of the site and other measuresCity, principal, Board, parents, neighbours2024-2026
2.5Work towards refreshing the site which may include murals, benches and new fencing, within budget frameworksBOM, staffOngoing
2.6Investigate the development of an all-weather pitch Staff and parents2025-2027


 ActionResponsible officerTimeline
3.1 Brainstorm how we can establish and continue to resource a school library within space constraintsStaff and PTA2023-2024
3.2Purchase additional equipment for PE lessons and yard timeStaff, principalOngoing
  • To continue to develop the school community by creating opportunities for pupils, parents and the community to interact. 
 ActionResponsible officerTimeline
4.1 Investigate ways to enhance and include all families in assemblies and potlucksTeachers, PTAOngoing
4.2Continue to expand the range of afterschool enrichment programmes for childrenPTA, staff and BOMOngoing
4.3Create strong links with other Educate Together schools in the west of IrelandPrincipal, staff2023-2024 and onwards
4.4Create a series of social events for parents and familiesPTA and Principal2023 onwards
4.5Arrange for GAA lessons through a local club and introduce additional after-school and curricular sports activitiesStaff2023-2024 and onwards
4.6Develop a liaison programme for the transition to secondary schoolStaff and children2024-2027
  • To create an atmosphere where pupils, staff, parents and the community feel safe, respected and valued and which develops a love of learning.
 ActionResponsible officerTimeline
5.1 Críochnaigh na riachtanais chun an Gaelbhratach a bhaint amach (complete the requirements for the Gaelbhratach)Lead teacher, staff, children2023-2024
5.2Continue work to retain and build on the Green Flag and Active Flag programmesLead teachers, staff, childrenOngoing
5.3Continue work towards becoming a UNICEF Child Rights SchoolLead teachers, staff, children2023-2025
5.3Invest in training experiences for staff and the introduction of initiatives for children and parents to support wellbeing, making this the focus of the next school self-evaluation processPrincipal, lead teachers, staff, parents, children2023-2026
5.4Embed and review the Learn Together Curriculum based on the completed ethos evaluation processLead teacher, staff, children, parents2023-2027

7.     Ratification and Review

This School Plan was ratified by the Board of Management on the date below.  It will be reviewed on an annual basis in a report by the Principal to the school community.

Paul Adams, chairperson                                                    Date ratified: 11/05/2023