Fourth Green Flag for transport as school’s numbers accelerate

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

AS THE school year comes to a close in Caherline National School they can look forward to returning in September with a new teacher and Green Flag.

AS THE school year comes to a close in Caherline National School they can look forward to returning in September with a new teacher and Green Flag.

New principal Michael McCarthy, who has taken over from Joan O’Reilly, says the fourth Green flag is for transport, which is fitting as more numbers equal more cars.

“The children walked to school on Wednesdays - called a WOW day. We also had cycle on Wednesdays - COW days - to get children active and fit and also to take traffic off the road as well because our numbers are growing,” said Mr McCarthy.

He says their numbers have been steadily increasing year on year and they are looking at building a new classroom.

“Our numbers are approaching 160. An additional teacher is starting in September, we will have six class teachers which will really benefit the school and children,” said Mr McCarthy.

As the roads around the school are quite narrow and bendy they conducted a “walkability audit” to see what the potential hazards were in 2011.

While the main entrance has many warning signs, the rear entrance, which was opened to reduce traffic congestion, didn’t have any. “The parents association and county council did trojan work to make it a safer road,” said Mr McCarthy.

New road markings and safety measures were put in place to warn motorists and reduce speed. A bike shed was built as well.

“They can put their bikes in there and the pupils who cycle get a key for the shed so their bike is safe.

“We have had a very good uptake, before this we had very few cycling or even walking to school. There are about 15 cycling and when the weather improved we had over 20. There are a number of different aspects - health, being active, the price of diesel and the benefits to the environment,” said Mr McCarthy. Ellen O’Sullivan, Green Schools, even shows them how to repair punctures.

As he has only taken over from Ms O’Reilly, Mr McCarthy says all the credit goes to the retired principal, the Green Schools co-ordinators Mary O’Dea, Lisa Riordan and all the pupils.

Ms O’Reilly was invited back to the school to raise the Green Flag and an ice cream van called to reward the children for all their hard work. Mr McCarthy, who is from Caherline, was the principal in Bulgaden National School but as he has fond memories of his school days in Caherline when the job came up he said he jumped at it.