We recently hosted some international visitors to our school as part of an international education conference being held in the Johnstown House Hotel in Enfield. Our visitors, who came from Iceland, USA, Norway and England were escorted by Department of Education inspector, John Mescal, to the school.
Their aim was to experience a half day in an Irish primary school and to understand how we encourage and promote learning, creativity, wellbeing, assessment (including the voice of the pupils) and equity (that every pupil gets a fair chance at primary education).
The visit included observing a Maths station teaching lesson in 4th class, the 6th class pupils explaining the workings of the Gugalaí Gug egg company and 6th class buddies playing with the junior infants. After break, Ms. Duignan led a mindfulness lesson with senior infants and then 5th class pupils spoke about how the school promotes wellbeing and resilience, including our Jigsaw 5 a Day mental health programme. Finally, Mr. O’Donnell and Ms. Gerrard were grilled about accountability and how the school is run!
One of the most positive aspects of the day was the fact that the visitors were very keen to speak to and engage with the pupils. Despite being well dressed, they were down on their knees talking to pupils, sitting with pupils in classes and rubbing the hens outside!
The perspective of the visitors was very interesting as they compared and contrasted their own education systems with ours.
They repeatedly commented on the excellent manners of the pupils and how well-spoken they were. At the end, one of the visitors, Steve Munby, asked Mr. O’Donnell to pass on a message to the school community that it had been a privilege for him to spend three hours in St. Patrick’s N.S.
Many thanks to all the pupils and staff for facilitating the trip.