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A Small School About People

Education is as much about people as the academic subjects taught. And, in our small, rural school in West Clare, that ethos brings a unique vibrancy and focus to the local community.

St. Cuan’s Primary School was built in 1962 and today has a roll call of thirty pupils with three teachers: principal, Mary Roche, mainstream teacher, Mary P. Lynch and resource teacher Deirdre Kenny Downes.

Children mix at all levels and teachers believe it is a better mix precisely because there is a greater dependence on one another in such a small school. Visitors to St. Cuan’s invariably comment on the intimate family atmosphere, the community spirit and the personal interaction that is part of the youngsters’ education.

Big days for the children such as First Communion, Confirmation and the school concert, are days of celebration for the community as a whole.

Teachers are very conscious of the richness of Kilbaha’s tradition and folklore. The children come to school with a knowledge and appreciation of their heritage that has been taught to them by their parents. The school aims to continue this education and to foster a love and awareness of their unique background. The teachers say the fact that the famous Little Ark is housed in the church adjacent to the school has been a great help in this regard, generating many interesting projects over the years.

The school itself is named after the local Saint Cuan. This association provides just one example of the sort of project regularly undertaken by the children. In fact, it inspired an archaeological study of the ruins of Teampall na Naoimh by the children. The trip also took in a visit to a holy well associated with the saint. Tradition has it that visits to the well cured a variety of eye ailments.

The partner approach to education is another tradition alive and well in Kilbaha with teachers pointing out that parents always lend great support when it comes to extra-curricular activities.
This has resulted in many achievements. A team from St. Cuan’s, for example, won the local heat of the Credit Union Quiz on five occasions in the last decade. They also came first place four years in a row, 1996 - 1999 in the local heat of the quiz competition run by the Irish Kidney Association. Since then they have featured in the second and third placings. Their record in the Cadbury School Quiz is likewise superb. Not only did St. Cuan’s emerge top of the Clare schools in 1996 and again in 1998 but they went on to fly the Banner County colours at the national finals in Dublin where they finished joint third and joint sixth in Ireland.

There have also been substantial achievements on the artistic front with one pupil taking first place in the Clare GAA art competition while others were winners at provincial level in Credit Union art events.

Classes in swimming, music and dancing are also enjoyed by the pupils. The children partake in the Write a Book project organised by the Clare Teachers’ Centre every year. At least four students are presented with prizes each year. In 2001 Leanne Lynch who was in Fifth Class was interviewed on Clare FM on the Write a Book project based on the fact that she had featured on the winners’ list over five years in a row, and on the school’s success and support for the project.

The school has a well stocked library and the children have use of computers and access to the Internet. In keeping in line with the ever changes and updating in the Curriculum it was necessary to build an extension to the school and refurbish the existing building. This work was carried out in 2002. The school yard was resurfaced and a basketball Court was also laid on at rear of the school.



St. Cuan's National School
County Clare
Tel: 065 9058212