Ennis National School Band
Our school band has a tradition going back over 40 years when it was set up by Seán McDermott and Michael Collins. Initially it was all boys as we were the “Ennis Boys’ National School” back then. The band was ran by Ms. Fíona de Buitléir up until her retirement in October 2020. Now it is run by Mr. Gary Walsh and Mr. Keith O’Loughlin. There is a lovely mix of girls and boys.
Pupils from 3rd to 6th class may apply to join the band. Some fine young musicians auditioned for the band every year and there are regular band practices held with a 60-strong cohort of musicians.
Our instruments include violins/fiddles, concertinas, tin whistles, accordians, flutes, ukulele, guitars, bodhran, djembes and drums. We play a wide repertoire of music from trad tunes to popular songs to movie themes.
The high point of the band’s year is the annual School Band Spectacular where we partner with other school bands in the mid-west area to perform a concert in a spectacular location. In the past these have included Shannon Airport, Bunratty Castle, University Concert Hall, Limerick and Glenstal Abbey.
The aim of the band is that children can advance their musical skills while having fun performing music with their classmates and friends.
The Senior Reading Class is a specialist class for students with severe Specific Learning Difference /dyslexia who are in 5th or 6th class. It provides a secure, supportive environment where pupils can learn at their own pace and using methods that suit their learning styles. The pupil-teacher ratio is 9:1. Pupils come from all over Co. Clare and sometimes from further afield.
In order to be eligible, pupils must have a diagnosis of severe Specific Learning Difference/dyslexia from an educational psychologist and their primary learning problems must arise from this. Contact the school for more detailed eligibility criteria.
In addition to working on literacy / numeracy / curricular material, the pupils are guided towards an understanding of dyslexia and given the vocabulary to discuss it. Their strengths are identified and celebrated. They are helped to come to terms with having dyslexia and feel good about themselves.
(Please note: The Junior Reading Class, for pupils with dyslexia in 3rd & 4th class, is based at the Holy Family Senior School in Ennis. Contact the principal there for further details.)
Book Rental Scheme
The school runs a Book Rental Scheme for pupils from First to Sixth Classes. Parents pay a rental fee annually for books. These books must be returned in good condition at the end of the year. At Ennis National School we have invested in reading books and materials for pupils at each class level. Use of these books are also included in the Rental Scheme. Workbooks and copies are not included and these have to be purchased separately by parents.
Applications for the for the Book Rental Scheme have to be made in May each year. This gives the school time to collate orders, purchase, cover and label books.
Note: there is no book rental scheme for First Classes as the majority of the books they use are workbook type books.
Reading Recovery is a specialised early intervention. It
consists of an intensive, individual instruction, designed to
support children who have particular difficulties in reading
and writing after at least one full year in primary school.
Reading recovery teachers have undertaken specialised
training and they undertake continuous professional
development training throughout the year to ensure delivery
of the programme is efficient and focussed on the needs of
each, individual child.
It helps children develop effective literacy strategies in
reading and writing.
Testing ensures the programme can be delivered to the most suitable candidates. It is a 12-20 week
programme. It is a rolling intervention ; when a pupil leaves Reading Recovery, another enters to
The intervention is different for each child – through assessment and observation, the teacher
ascertains strengths and weaknesses and tailors an individual programme for each child.
This individual instruction takes place for 30 minutes daily, within school hours.
The Reading Recovery session:
In a typical Reading Recovery session the following is undertaken:
– Reading familiar books to build fluency and confidence.
– Rereading yesterday’s new book, with teacher taking a running record to monitor progress.
– Word-work – letter identification at speed, breaking words into parts etc.
– Oral conversation – to compose and write a story.
– Hearing and recording sounds in words – using sound boxes/spelling boxes.
– Reconstruction of story with a cut up.
– Listening to a new book introduction – introducing new language phrases, searching for a
new sight word etc.
– First attempt to read a new book.