Wholeschool Portal | Home 18 March 2019


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 Introduction to our School

History of the Convent of Mercy N.S.


The Convent of Mercy N.S., is situated on Bridge Street, Belturbet, Co. Cavan.  The school was built by the Mercy Order in 1909 on Convent Grounds.  Children accessed the school via a tunnel on Bridge Street.  Due to increased traffic and danger to the children this entry was closed in the late eighties when a new entry was developed on Church Street.  This new official entry was made possible as a result of the generosity of the Mercy Order.

The school from its inception in 1909 was staffed entirely by Sisters of Mercy until 1966 when Drumlaney County School amalgamated with the Convent School.  As a result the first lay teacher came to teach in the Convent N.S.  The last religious Principal retired in 1997.  At present the school is staffed entirely by lay teachers, the gender being female.

The school caters for girls 4 -12 years old i.e. Junior to Sixth class and boys 4 – 7 years old i.e. Junior Infants to First Class, with the boys transferring to St Mary’s Boys’ school at the end of First Class. 

The school comprises of one two storey building built in 1909 with granite stairs linking the two levels.  The wooden windows were replaced in 1996 with PVC windows.  Central heating replaced open fires in 1968.  However, in 1999 the 2nd floor ceilings collapsed, possibly due to lack of ventilation.  These ceilings were replaced with pine wood tongue and groove hanging ceilings.  The school boasts a very unusual ducting system.  The trap doors in all the upstairs ceilings have decorative in cut designs.  These designs allowed for condensation and foul air to be released.  Above each trap door is a wooden duct which all lead to ventilation slots in the walls.  We believe this type of ventilation system may have been especially because of the prevalence of tuberculosis.  In 1999 all the internal doors were replaced by fire doors and the school was rewired and redecorated.

In 1986 due to expanding numbers a prefab classroom was erected in the school yard.  The yard also includes a shelter, and one small cement, flat roofed storage shed, which has been renovated, re-plastered and reroofed during the summer 2009, as part of our ongoing maintenance programme.  The yard which has had its surface re-tarmaced during 2008 is very confined, with Bridge Street on one boundary, the Convent Graveyard on another side and private property enveloping the remaining two sides.  There is no room to expand the play area even though enrolment trends are on the upward slope.  Consequently, the yard is divided into different play areas per class groupings. 

In 2007 due to expanding numbers a further prefab comprising of two classrooms was erected on a garden rented from the Mercy Order on Church Street entrance.  Though much renovation has been completed down the years the school, has managed to hold onto an “heirloom”.

After the school was opened in 1909 the nuns requested that a dolls house would be made for the children to play with in the school.  Mr Arthur Murphy built the Victorian Styled wooden dolls house.  Generations of children have played with this house to this day.  At present Arthur’s great great grand-daughters are in various classes in the school.  We are very proud of the dolls house and marvel at the time and patience spent in perfecting such a beautiful piece of furniture.


Our school is bright and airy and though it may be hard to locate on first visiting the town it is well worth the effort!



The Convent of Mercy is a state funded school i.e. it receives Grants from the Department of Education and Science for Maintenance, Heat/Light, Secretary/Caretaker, etc.  The Board of Management employs a part-time caretaker/cleaner and full-time secretary.

Our School

There are over 167 pupils attending the Convent of Mercy National School.

Boys and girls attend from Junior Infants to First Class (co-ed). After completing first class the boys transfer to the local St Mary’s Boys’ National school. Girls continue from Second to Sixth class in our school.

School commences: 09.20
Mid-morning break: 11.00 – 11.10
Lunch: 12.30 - 13.00
School finishes: 14.00 for Infants
15.00 All other classes.

School Uniform

School crested jumper is available at Maurice Brady, Main St. Cavan

navy jumper with school crest

blue shirt and tie

navy trousers

black shoes

navy jumper with school crest

skirt/pinafore/navy trousers

blue shirt and tie

black shoes


P.E. Uniform

navy tracksuit 

light blue polo shirt

can be purchase in any department store.


The school has a Catholic ethos; Religious education is provided for pupils in accordance with the doctrines and traditions of the Catholic Church.  In line with the Catholic Ethos, the school observes Catholic holidays and festivals.  The children are prepared for the reception for the sacraments of Confirmation in accordance with the “Alive O” religious programme and the arrangements made with the archdiocese of Kilmore.  The children are given opportunities to participate in liturgical celebration arranged by the school.  The ethos recognises the uniqueness, value and dignity of each pupil and aims to promote the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person including his/her relationship with God, family, teacher, special needs assistants, secretary, caretakers, friends, community, others and the environment.  The school recognises that our ethos influences the basis on which all relationships are conducted.  Therefore, the school values such precepts as respect, kindness, justice, fairness and tolerance and seeks to ensure that all relationships within the school are conducted with due regard to these precepts.


Teaching Staff:-

 ·         The current enrolment (September 2017) is 167 and the staff includes

·          One Teaching Principal

.·         Six Mainstream Teachers (including Teaching Principal)

.·         Three SEN teachers (one shared with other schools)


Board of Management:-

The school is governed by the Board of Management with eight members:- Chairperson, Fathers’ Representative, Mothers’ Representative, Principal Teacher, Teachers’ Nominee, Patron’s Nominee and two members of the Community.  The Board of Management is responsible for all aspects of the upkeep and maintenance of the school.  It is also responsible for the employment of all staff.  Strict accounting procedures are adhered to and all Board of Management accounts are audited annually


Parents Association:-

This school has an active Parents’ Association which works closely with the Board of Management and they support the school in many areas, especially by fundraising.  They meet once monthly/termly during the school year to work on collaborative projects such as fundraising, catering for First Communion and other special occasions.


The Association were also involved in:-

.·         Implementation of one-way system outside school to try to ensure the safety of children coming to and                   leaving school.

.·         The principal liaises regularly with the Parents Association to discuss matters of relevance to school

.·         Organisation or any relevant issue as it may arise.


Parent Teacher Meetings:-

Formal Parent Teacher meetings are held annually, usually in Oct/Nov.  Just before mid-term.  This is where each parent/guardian is given an appointment time, in accordance with D.E.S. policy as set out in the relevant departmental circular, with their child’s teacher.  The parent body are given two weeks notices as to the date of the parent/teacher meetings.  Each teacher completes an appointment card for each parent.  Teachers are available right throughout the year to meet parents if necessary.


School Reports:-

It is school policy that a pupils School Progress report is communicated twice yearly, to Parents/Guardians, in the form of a verbal report during the Parent-Teacher meeting first term and a written report, a copy of which is sent to the Parent/Guardian in June each year. Parents/Guardians would normally receive this report two weeks before the summer holidays in order to give Parents/Guardians an opportunity to discuss any issues which may arise.


Child Protection:-

This school has a comprehensive Child Protect Policy broadly based on “Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures” (Department of Education & Science), “Children First” (Department of Health & Children) and input from personnel from Child Abuse and Prevention Programme (C.A.P.P.) Health promotion Unit.

It is school policy to report alleged child neglect/abuse to the Health Board.  Parents will be informed if such a report is being made, unless by so doing it puts the child at further risk of abuse.  It is not within our remit to investigate such allegations.  Our intention is to provide a safe, happy, secure environment for all the children attending this school.

Mrs Flynn (Principal) and Mrs. Gilleran (Deputy Principal) are the schools’ child protection liaison officer and deputy liaison officer respectively. Notices with this information are displayed throughout the school.

School Environment:-

Some studies suggest that a well planned and pleasant school environment can have a beneficial effect in the area of academic attainment, in addition to the obvious one of promoting in the child a respect for the environment in general.  Through collaboration of the whole school community, such an environment has been created and continues to be developed at our school.

Every effort is made to create a pleasant and welcoming internal, school atmosphere.  Display and storage facilities (e.g. pupils’ books storage shelves in each classroom) has been designed by the school so as to be child orientated, stimulating and encouraging of enquiry.  The atmosphere is also designed to develop a sense of security, confidence and independence on the part of the child.

Subjects Taught:-

Our Curriculum is comprised of the following subjects:-

Gaeilge, English, Maths, S.E.S.E. (Social, Environmental & Scientific Education), Religion, S.P.H.E. (Social, Personal & Health Education) Visual Arts, Music, Drama, Physical Education and I.C.T., (Information, Communication Technology).



All classrooms are adequately equipped with relevant resources.  Science and Maths equipment are available, in the secretaries’, office as required by teachers (see ‘Curricular Teams in the staff folder)


Extra Circular Activities:-


.·         .Sport:- Soccer, Athletics, Football and Camogie.

.·         .The school is participating in a number of different sporting competitions for boys and girls.

.·         .Academic: Music, Dance and General Knowledge Quiz.

.·         .Visiting artists and performers to school and school visits to; museums, libraries and theatres.


In School Management:-

The Principal meets with the Deputy Principal, informally, every morning and afternoons for a brief meeting.  They in turn meet with the Post Holder once every month and all these formal meetings are minuted.


The school sees itself as an integral part of the Parish of Annagh, in partnership with the parent body. Close contact is maintained between school and home. Parents and teachers support each other in facilitating the pupils to realise the fullness of their potential. We value greatly our relationship with parents and the local community.


Principal and Staff:-

The Principal and Staff aim to make the school a centre of excellence in which high professional standards are maintained and where pupils learn in a safe, supportive and happy environment.

As a learning community, the school promotes and values the notion of life-long learning for all. Teachers and all staff are encouraged and supported to develop personally and professionally. Ancillary staff is respected and highly valued form the contribution they make to the school.



We strive to respond to the needs of all including traveller children, refugees, international students and children with special needs. The school promotes equality of opportunity and it respects the cultural and religious values of all. Extra support is provided for children with Learning Difficulties.  Special Educational Needs and pupils with English as a second language are supported by Special Education Needs Teachers (SEN).

This school seeks to promote a warm, welcoming, safe, happy, supportive, nurturing, inclusive, respectful environment for the whole school community. We aim to provide a safe, physical and emotional environment that fosters tolerance and inclusivity.


Cultural Diversity:-

The Convent of Mercy N.S recognises that all children have a culture and ethnicity. Learning to value their own culture and ethnicity is central to their self-esteem and sense of identity. Intercultural education facilitates all children in coming to value their own heritage and the heritage of others.

The school community develops an experience of and positive engagement with, cultural diversity through the practices that shape and make up the child’s total experience of school life.  As such, Convent of Mercy N.S., recognises that intercultural education extends beyond a narrow focus on the content of classroom teaching, and is central to the effective development of an inclusive, intercultural school.



The Convent of Mercy N.S. follows the Revised Primary School Curriculum introduced by the Department of Education and Science in 1999 and the Religious Education Programme recommended by the Catholic Church for primary schools. The curriculum areas taught are:

.·         Religious Education - Grow In Love, Junior Infants to fourth class inclusive & Alive O Programme, fifth &                     sixth class

.·         Language - Gaeilge and English

.·         Mathematics

.·         Social, Environmental and Scientific Education - History, Geography & Science

.·         Arts Education - Visual Arts, Music & Drama

.·         Physical Education

.·         Social, Personal and Health Education

In addition, the school also involves itself in a variety of extra activities which enrich the education of our pupils.


Curriculum Plans and Programmes:-

This school has a comprehensive School Plan in all of the curricular areas and plans continue to be developed, reviewed as appropriate in all curriculum areas.  A copy of this is available to all teachers digitally (Teachers Laptops/Memory sticks).

Each subject area was co-ordinated by the Principal with input from relevant staff members to which that subject has been allocated and Curriculum Planning Seminars/In-Service, Personnel from School Development and Planning, revised Curricular and all the teaching staff in the school.

School Self Evaluation (S.S.E. - Summary)


As a staff, we began formally tracking and documenting progress in literacy and numeracy in 2003/2004 using a school-devised test. We began averaging standardised test results in numeracy and literacy in 2006/2007 and comparing these results to NRIT and Nfer Nelson results to inform future planning and to help better identify children in need of support.

In light of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy 2011, we decided as a staff to form teams with a specific focus on literacy (including Gaeilge) and numeracy. We decided to carry out a school self-evaluation of Maths, English and Gaeilge. This plan was devised before the guidelines for SSE were in place and before the SSE circular had issued to schools. The focus of our SSE embraced more areas than the guidelines or the circular suggested.

In order to get a clear picture of our strengths and weaknesses in these areas we began to gather evidence. A questionnaire was sent to all Parents/Guardians in autumn 2011 and feedback was collated and discussed. A pupil questionnaire for English and Maths was administered in the senior classes. Regular formal and informal evaluation of pupil progress is carried out on an ongoing basis. All teachers maintain assessment folders for their class throughout the year, including assessment of and for learning.

We analysed all these findings and we discussed how they matched best practice in Maths, English and Gaeilge. The findings of our recent WSE were also discussed and used to inform our actions. The school’s strengths and weaknesses in these areas were then identified and openly discussed by staff. 

We wrote our SSE report and an improvement plan was devised. An oral report of our main findings was given to the parent body at a meeting of the Parents’ Association.

We are continuing to monitor how our planned actions are being implemented and to what degree our targets are being met

The staff has worked towards putting in place a three-year improvement plan for Literacy and Numeracy. In Literacy, we are introducing revised comprehension strategies, guided reading and the Literacy Lift-off Programme. Having piloted Literacy Lift-Off in the Senior Infant class in March 2011, we implemented it in Senior Infants and First Class in March-May 2012. Initially a running record was completed on one child per group. This year, this has been extended to all pupils starting with Senior Infants to establish their instructional level in reading. In Numeracy ,we are introducing revised strategies for problem solving throughout all classes such as Maths ability groups, Collaborative maths groups, maths quizzes and Maths Trails , and Maths ‘problem of the week’ with more emphasis on children leading the problem- solving while teacher facilitates and guides.

 Parents have become involved, under the class teacher’s supervision. Aspects of the literacy and numeracy strategy were explained to the board and parents’ association at meetings and in written communication. We purchased a number of resources to assist in implementing our actions for improvement.

In our improvement plan for Literacy, we set specific targets for improvement in comprehension and vocabulary. Guided Reading is to be extended to second class and new material has been purchased for this initiative. Literacy Lift-Off is also to be extended and introduced into second and third class in the second term. In our improvement plan for Numeracy,we set specific targets for improvement in problem-solving.The need to link classroom-based work and the work of the SEN team was also identified. We decided to review team teaching to ensure a balance between the withdrawal model and in-class support, and to continue our increased emphasis on Early Intervention, diagnosing and remediating difficulties at an early stage.



The school vision recognises that a claim to true professionalism must be based on the delivery of a standard of knowledge, expertise and level of service warranting such.  Towards this end, ongoing professional development is encouraged through activities such as; the provision of a comprehensive Professional Reading Library, the sharing of expertise through the Curriculum Planning sessions and attendance at In-service Courses.  All aspects of school organisation have been carefully planned, with regular updating and revision of the ‘Plean Scoile’.




A comprehensive management document has been compiled, outlining, according to guidelines issued by D.E.S. the management structure of this school.


.a)    Principal Teacher

.b)   Deputy Principal

.c)    1 Special Duties Teacher (See Management Document)




The school complies with the Equal Status Act 2000 – 2004, The Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2004, The Education Welfare Act 2000, The Education Act 1998 and The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (E.P.S.E.N.) 2004.


Special Needs:-


In the school’s Enrolment Policy specific reference is made to the enrolment of children with Special Needs.  This is an inclusive school where all children are welcome, and given the opportunity to achieve to their full potential.  It is the policy of this school to integrate, where possible/suitable, all children with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream.


Prior to enrolment the B.O.M. requests from parents copies of all relevant medical and/or psychological reports where available.  Where they are not available a request will be made that the child be assessed immediately.  The purpose of these reports is (a) to assist the school in establishing the educational needs of the child and (b) to apply to the National Council for Special Education for the necessary resource to ensure that the child’s educational needs can be met in the school.


These Resources will take the form of:

.1.     Access to the support of Special Needs Assistants.

.2.    Additional Teaching Inputs under Department of Education & Science (D.E.S.) General Allocation Model (G.A.M.)

.3.    Avail of additional resource teacher access as approved by the S.E.N.O. under the D.E.S. Low Incidence special            needs categories.

.4.    Avail of service of Visiting Teacher. E.g. hearing impaired, Visually Impaired, Traveller Children.


With proper documentation and the approval of Special Education Needs Organiser (S.E.N.O.) it may be possible to have these services in place from the first day of enrolment.  Where a child is enrolled in this school and there are concerns regarding their educational needs based on School Screening and Teacher Observation, assessments may be sought from the most relevant professionals (N.E.P.S and/or private assessments if funding available), with parental consent.  Where the finding of theses reports indicate that theses children qualify for additional resources under The Weighted Model (Low Incidence), an application will be made immediately to N.C.S.E./S.E.N.O.


A review of resource by National Council for Special Education/Special Educational Needs Organiser takes place regularly and, where necessary, application for additional resource will be made.  In other cases, resource may be withdrawn.




Children from ‘disadvantaged backgrounds’ are given equal access to all school related activities inside and outside school hours.  Financial resources are released (each case studied on its own merits) to support such activities to ensure that these children are included in school life.




The school recognises that the parents are the primary educators of their children and supports them in this role.  Parental involvement is encouraged through parent-teacher meetings which are held once a year, usually in Oct/Nov.  Parents are also encouraged to meet their child’s teacher at any other time during the school year if they feel that it would be beneficial.


Parents/Guardians are encouraged to take an active interest in the development of their children and to meet with the class teacher both informally and formally to discuss any aspect of their child’s progress (See Parent Information Booklet).

Organisational Policies:-

A comprehensive list of Organisational Policies, which are regularly reviewed and updated and have been ratified by the Board of Management are available from the school:-


Development Planning:-

The Principal in collaboration with all stakeholders of the school draws up a three year action plan representing those areas of school organisation and management that are regarded as priorities for updating and further development. From this action plan a yearly planning diary is formulated which informs the school plan for that year.  The list will be drawn up from the following areas:-


.a)    Staffing

.b)   Buildings, Grounds and Furniture

.c)    Policies

.d)   Parents

.e)    Pupils

.f)    Teaching and Curricular Plans

.g)    Organisational Plans

.h)   Staff Development

.i)     Resources

.j)    School Maintenance


Elements of the School Plan include:-

 Plans on all teachers laptops.

.1)    The creation of a pleasant external and internal environment (See School Environment).

.2)   (a) Plean Soile in subject binders and introduction to Plean Scoile binder.

(b) Binder(s) to contain Organisational Policies and Planning Diary Binder and Action Plan and Planning Diary Binder as part of our school School Development Planning.

.(c)  D.E.S. Circulars will be stored in order of years in Principals office and/or in soft copy on desktop of computers.,

.(d) Each teacher will have a memory stick/disc which they will use to contain the information contained in sections a & b above.

.3)   Teachers will be made aware of and have access to all D.E.S. publications in Principals office.

.4)   Collaboration between teacher, sharing of expertise and whole school planning will be encouraged and provision made for whole school planning.

.5)   Provision of extensive Audio-Visual and I.T. resource, with accessibility designed to encourage use, e.g. Overhead Projectors and Computers etc.

.6)   The provision of suitable resource to ensure that full implementation of the curriculum

.7)   .The Cúntas Míosúil document will be in a uniform format throughout the school with agreed amendments in the infant cycle. However this is an evolving document to facilitate its capacity to accommodate and reflect curriculum content as teachers feel appropriate after agreement through discussion and concensus.  Learning Support and resource teachers will use their own format of the Cúntas Míosúil.

.8)   Parent Teacher Policy: - Each Parent will be supplied with a copy of the school’s “Parent Information Booklet” on enrolment.

.9)   In accordance with the ‘National Strategy for Literacy and Numeracy 2011/2012’ and following discussion as a whole staff, our school chose one of the NCCA templates available on the NCCA website to report children’s progress, annually, to parents/guardians.

Standardised Test Results are reported to parents/guardian at both Parent/Teacher Meetings and through our annual end of school year NCCA written report, with an explanation of scores.


Schedule of Standardised Testing in Convent of Mercy N.S.,

NRIT 2nd Week in October
(Alternate years)

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 
and 6th Class
Drumconda Spelling Test 1st Week in May
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 
and 6th Class
Drumconda (English) End of April Levels 1-6 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 
and 6th Class
Sigma T Maths 1st Week June Levels 1-4 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,

Level 5 5th and 6th Class
Drumconda Irisn               3rd Week in May Level 2-6


.·         .To assist with the assessment/review of learning support pupils’ progress and the inclusion of any new pupils falling at or below the 25th percentile on Drumcondra (standardised English Test) or 30th percentile on Sigma T (Maths Standardised Test).  The Learning Support team of teachers will run the tests on their cohort and other pupils identified by the class teachers as possibly needing support and who fell below the 30th percentile on the previously administered standardised tests.

.·         .Testing at this mid-point in the years permits evaluation prior to the parent/teacher meetings which will allow for more accurate appraisal of the pupil and allow for permissions to be gathered for new candidates and explanations for new entrants as well as returnees to mainstream.

.          M.I.S.T. (modified by our S.E.T. team) is administered for screening purposed in Senior Infants in February             annually

.·         .Early At Risk Indicator Programme (Junior Infants) is administered for screening purposes annually in late               November.

.·         .Literacy Lift Off Programme:- carried out in Senior Infants and First Class during second term.

.·         .Quest Screening in both literacy & numeracy is administered as deemed necessary in

            2nd & 3rd classes.

.·         .Diagnostic Tests such as Neale Analysis, Wraps, Aston Index, Marino Word Test, Schonell Spelling             and a battery of other diagnostic tests to be used by S.E.T. team and Mainstream Teachers.

A child is only considered for repeat in consultation with the Principal, class teacher and the child’s parents/guardians, and in accordance with the guidelines set out in D.E.S. Circular 32/03.