Welcome to St. Attracta’s

Welcome to St. Attracta’s

St. Attracta’s National School is the primary school in the town of Ballaghaderreen. The school has a Roman Catholic ethos and is under the patronage of the Achonry Diocese in the Parish of Kilcolman.  It is a mixed vertical school with an average annual enrolment of over 260 pupils and 22 staff including an administrative principal, a Home School Community Liaison Co-Ordinator, SNAs and a school completion worker.

The school consistently performs above the national average in the annual standardised assessments for English reading, spelling and maths. The school has well developed early intervention strategies that provide pupils in the infant classes with a strong foundation for future success in literacy and numeracy. These strategies include Reading Recovery, Maths Recovery, Accelerated Reader and year round literacy and numeracy station teaching. 

The school promotes the use of digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning. A Digital Learning Plan embedded in our DEIS Improvement Plan guides this work. 

Pupil learning in the performing arts benefits from a rich tradition of music, song and drama in the school. Class dramas, musical performances and choir singing for the enjoyment of internal and external audiences are a common feature of school life.  The school boasts of a marching band and a choir which perform regularly in the local community.  All pupils from second class onwards are provided with the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument.

Health and well-being is promoted through the provision of a wide range of sports and physical activities. All pupils are encouraged to experience and participate in a variety of curriculum based activities throughout the year. Coaching is provided in Gaelic football. hurling, swimming, gymnastics, tennis, soccer and dance. From time to time external coaches are also employed and work alongside the class teacher for these sports. Inter-school tournaments and friendly games are arranged throughout the year in a variety of sports. Class fun runs to encourage daily activity bursts for all pupils prove very popular with all classes. In recognition of our efforts to promote sport and wellbeing, in 2021 we were awarded the Active School Flag and in 2022 we received the Amber Flag. 

Learning in SESE curriculum is complemented  by our annual participation in the Curious Minds / Discover Primary Science and Maths Awards. The school received awards in 2021, 20222 and 2023 from the Science Foundation of Ireland.  The school was awarded two Green Flags to date.  

Developed in three year cycles, the DEIS Improvement  plan details school improvement targets and actions across the six areas of focus: Literacy, Numeracy, Attendance, Partnerships with parents and others; Retention and Progression.

The active Parent Association (PA) in the school also contributes to school improvement. The PA plays a key role in policy review and development. The PA has also undertaken surveys and focus groups in consultation with the principal on agreed areas of focus.

A Pupil Voice Committee consisting of 6 pupils meets regularly with an Assistant Principal to bring another dimension to school improvement conversations. 

St. Attracta’s then

St. Attarcta’s dates back to 1874 when it was named St. Francis Xavier’s School. The Sisters of Charity, led by Mother Agnes Morragh Bernard of Chelthenham, arrived in that year and shortly afterwards set up the ‘national primary school’ for male and female infants. 

St Attracta's National School, BallaghaderreenIn the late 1880s, the then M.P. for East Mayo, Mr. Sexton, successfully petitioned the House of Commons to locate an industrial school at the convent. Soon after the industrial school was established and it lasted until the 1960s.

 In 1971 the Sisters of Charity left Ballaghaderren due to declining vocations.  The order were replaced by the Mercy Order of nuns. St. Francis Xavier School remained under the auspices of the Mercy Order until 1992.

In September 1992, an amalgamation of the nearby St. John’s Boys School, run by the De La Salle Brothers, and St. Francis Xavier School took place. The school, was renamed St. Attracta’s National School in honour of the patron saint of the area. The school crest today honours the memory of the amalgamated schools by including references to each of the schools.