“I am from Knock in Mayo, I have two brothers and one sister. One of my brothers lives in Dubai, my sister is in Sydney and my other brother is back home in Knock. I went to a teacher training college in Drumcondra called St Pats, I then taught for two years in a Catholic school in Beaumont before moving to Kuwait for two years to teach in a British school.
I have also been a teacher in Kazakhstan and Australia before returning to Ireland in 2009 where I started teaching in the Community National School model in Scoil Grainne Community National School.
I taught there for three years and when I left I set up this school in Citywest.
The school was established in 2012 and we started with 20 pupils all in junior infants and now we have 220 pupils with the junior infant’s class from 2012 now in second class and they will bring the school up to sixth class. We are still enrolling with spaces left for junior infants and third class for next year though. Community National Schools were established in 2008 and they are open to all faiths and beliefs. What’s cool about this school is that when I set it up initially parents were wondering what is different about it. We have school uniforms, I am Mr. Conboy and all types of parents really like the inclusive ethos of the school.
The school is going through a transition as the name is changing from Scoil Niamh Community National School to Citywest and Saggart Community National School at the beginning of June. The reason is because we have done a lot of work in and around the school for inclusion, equality and multicultural education and Scoil Niamh didn’t embody that. Irish is also a really important part of the school and our identity as a community national school should reflect who we serve and that is Citywest and Saggart. The main language of the school is English but Irish is still taught like any other school, and we do afterschool classes teaching French and German.
About 40% of the kids in our school are from Poland so we have a teacher who comes in every Friday who teaches them Polish. In the foyer in the school we have three main displays, the multi-belief display, our equality wall and our human rights wall. The ethos of the school is one which encompasses all three of those walls. We have Muslim, Catholics, Hindus, Atheists, along with different types of families like single parents, same sex families, disabled parents and we are trying to represent and cater for everyone. We celebrate equality.”