History of Woodland National School

SchoolOutside

The original Woodland National School was built at the crossroads of the town-land of Woodland and served a very much rural community.  It remained a 1 teacher school from 1861 until 1928 when the first assistant teacher was appointed.  A new 2 teacher Woodland School was opened in 1952 and the school, which was built on the present site, retained the name Woodland School even though it had moved to the town-land of Rough Park, approximately a mile distant. The most notable feature of this period was the longevity of the Principal, Ms. Molly Callaghan who served from 1917 – 1964.

The school remained a 2 teacher school until January 1979 when the first of many pre-fabs was erected (under the Principalship of Ms. Bridie Timoney).  As numbers began to grow another one soon followed.  With the appointment of Mr. Joe McNulty in 1984 the school began to experience more rapid growth and by 1993, had grown to a 10 teacher school with a “walking” Principal.

1994 saw the opening of the first stage of the present school development, 7 classrooms with toilets, general purpose room, staff room, kitchen and Principal’s Office.  Unfortunately, the planning authorities hadn’t envisaged the growth in numbers and a pre-fab was still on site and the old school was  still in operation.

SchoolINside 1994 also saw the  introduction of the Speech and Language  class with a Speech Therapist form the  Health Board on site.  This has since  developed into a Junior and Senior Class  retaining the support of a Speech Therapist.

The school continued to experience rapid  growth, annual appointments of extra  teachers and the erection of pre-fabs.  The  Department of Education approved a major  extension as a result of this growth consisting of 9 Classrooms, a P.E. Hall, Library, Principals Office, Secretary’s Office, Staff Room and play areas.

Construction began in 2001 and initially involved the moving of 4 pre-fabs within the school grounds.  The demolition of the “old” school was witnessed by both staff and children and was greeted with mixed emotion- a scale model of this building is on display in the school library.  The extension was officially opened in late November 2002 by Dr. James McDaid.

Since the opening of the extension there has been a huge increase in the provision of services for children with special needs.  This has resulted in numerous appointments of SNAs and further appointments of resource teachers.  Every nook and cranny in the school had been used to accommodate resource teachers – converting a P.E. store, kitchen and boiler house.

Early in 2007, the school was approached by the NCSE regarding the possible establishment of a 3 classroom unit for children with ASDs.  The Board of Management responded positively and the project began with the erection of a pre-fab as a temporary ASD unit and the appointment of a teacher.  With a budget of €1 million the construction of a permanent ASD Unit began in Halloween 2008 and was in operation in September 2009.  Major improvements were made to the school ground at this time.

As the demand for places in the ASD Unit grew the Department of Education sanctioned an extension and a 4th Class was added.  This opened in September 2011 with improved facilities for the Junior Speech & Language and Resource teaching.  In early 2012 Woodland N.S. was selected as one of the schools where temporary accommodation (pre-fabs) would be replaced by permanent classrooms. Hence one prefab was removed and one classroom was built in its place, this has been in operation since February 2013.

Woodland National School has been in existence for over 150 years and has served its community well.  The last 25 years has been a particular period of dynamic growth and great credit must go the Parents, Boards of Management, Parents Associations and Staff for their commitment and dedication. We are very fortunate to have a very carefully researched and documented history of the school and we would like to thank former parent Adrian Gallagher for a lot of the work on this.