John Scottus Alumni Newsletter 

Autumn 2020

Dear Alumni of John Scottus School,

We wanted to take the opportunity to reconnect with our network of Alumni, scattered all over the city, around the country and across the world. John Scottus has been through a lot of changes and expansion over the past years, and this newsletter is our first chance to let you know where we are and what we’re doing as of September 2020. 

Where we are now – John Scottus Secondary School in Old Conna

In September 2017, we moved the Secondary School out to Old Conna in Rathmichael and have had three successful years settling into our new home. The school is growing steadily with students from the local area, as well as those dedicated students who travel from around Dublin to attend John Scottus. We finally have a campus of our own, filled with amenities and resources that those of us who grew up in John Scottus of the past could only dream about. 

On the grounds, we have our own astroturf and grass pitches where we can host other schools for matches and great open spaces for the students to relax at break times. Whether they want to play sports, go for a walk, sit together at the picnic benches, or attend one of the many clubs going on at lunchtime, the options are there. The property is also surrounded by 5 acres of forest in which you will find an outdoor classroom and a new running track which was created by staff and students last year.

First JSS home match on our own pitch
Sports day on the astro-pitch

Inside, we have expansive bright classrooms both in the main building and the Nordic block of chalets. In the main house, there are classrooms dedicated to Maths, English, History and Science and other smaller classrooms which are used for the Senior Cycle subjects such as Classics, Business, Accounting, etc. The Transition Year room is a particular highlight, giving the students a great space to develop themselves both academically and with skills for life. The main hall is a wonderful space for assembly and has a window that is perfect for our Christmas tree every year. 

Christmas in the front hall
Classroom in the main building

Out in the Nordic block, we have our Science lab, the Art room, the Geography room and the Irish/French room. The second half of the Nordic block is home to John Scottus’ exciting new Primary and Preschool and we look forward to the development of the relationship between these two schools into the future.

We have built on and continue to develop the rich traditions of John Scottus School. We still deem philosophy, meditation, choir, drama, community work, sports activities and class trips to be intrinsic to our values. Timothy Telford, our TY coordinator, and a past pupil, has built a new relationship with a school and children’s home in Nepal. Every year, our Transition Year students get the opportunity to go there in February for a few weeks to teach English and do building work. 

Along with this, we also use the current Department of Education curriculum for Philosophy, CSPE (Civics, Social and Political Education) and SPHE (Social, Personal and Health Education). Part of SPHE is RSE (Relationships and Sexuality Education), which is taught by myself as Deputy Principal and our guidance counsellor, Emma Maguire Timmins who is also a past pupil. We have a strong team of established and new staff, all dedicated to developing a 21st Century education to meet the needs of our expanding and diverse community. 

As we head back to school this September, there will be some temporary changes to the way we do things. Gathering together as a whole school for assemblies or socially in groups will be gone for the time being and we will have to reconsider the way we do everything. We know it will be a challenging year, filled with uncertainty. However, we are very grateful for our inspirational teachers, our great student body and the space that being in Old Conna will provide us with. Here’s to another year in our new home. We hope to invite you to an Alumni gathering at Old Conna in the not too distant future.

Eva Franklin, Deputy Principal, John Scottus Secondary School

Where we are now – John Scottus National School, Northumberland Road

Well, it’s been a year with lots of change. Mr Clancy retired as principal and I stepped into the new role of principal. Covid-19 has impacted all of our lives, but we started back in the “new normal” this September in Northumberland Road. 

The school is in great shape. We have 180 fantastic students and a great staff, all delighted to be back at school. This year we took in twenty Junior Infants who skip into school everyday. All our classes are mixed, girls and boys, from Junior Infants to 6th Class. We have twelve class teachers, three Special Education teachers, a full time PE teacher, one Special Needs Assistant and thirteen part-time specialist teachers, as well as four catering staff and a school secretary. 

Over the years, our school has become more and more international; we have thirty five different nationalities and we are all benefiting tremendously from the diversity that this brings to the school. 

The typical day is similar to what you remember and still starts with an assembly in the morning. The children have a beautiful, freshly cooked, vegetarian meal each day, though the menu may have changed since you were here. 

We have our weekly Philosophy classes and you’ll be glad to know that Sanskrit is still alive and well. The language itself may not be – but the children singing it everyday certainly are and it is very much a firm favourite. 

We are lucky to have a large field nearby, where? you may ask. We call it the Secret Garden, because it is hard to find if you don’t know where the entrance is and it will stay a secret to you too. In the garden, there is a large section of astroturf for the children to play. Alongside it we have our school garden where the students learn about planting, harvesting and then eating the vegetables they have grown. We still do lots of PE, gaelic, hockey, swimming and karate. We also have a thriving Afterschool which runs until 5.15pm.

If you have a son or daughter for Primary School, have a look at our website

Niall Callaghan, Principal, John Scottus National School

Who we are – John Scottus Primary and Pre-school in Old Conna

Last September a new John Scottus Primary and Pre-school opened up in The Old Conna campus in Rathmichael, Bray Co. Dublin. I am currently the head Teacher of the primary and the manager of the pre-school. The opportunity to look freshly at the ethos of the school and implement a more outdoorsy approach to education has been an exciting venture for me. We are extremely lucky to have a very generous outdoor area dotted with ancient trees and little hidden forest areas. We are outside in nature as much as possible for outdoor learning, playtimes, climbing trees and also for Forest School days which we have once a month. 

The ethos of the school is alive and active in our school. We directly teach the children principles and virtues such as Fearlessness, Perseverance, Gratitude and Self Control. During our daily morning outdoor assemblies with both the pre-school and primary school children, the children are read inspiring stories demonstrating these virtues and they are encouraged to share any reflection that they have on their own practices of these in their own lives. Their contributions are generally very insightful and the connection they have with these practices is very real. 

The primary class is a mixed aged, multi ability group of children. I teach by topic and then group the children into different levelled groups. I get to sit with each of them to engage in direct teaching and learning and build a close connection with them. The mixed ages creates a lovely learning environment for the children. At the end of each lesson the children are invited to share what they were working on in their group and the class are invited to give feedback. The result of this is you have very supportive older children giving encouraging feedback to the younger children. The younger children’s learning is being scaffolded by the knowledge and contributions of the older children, and overall you have a non-competitive and celebratory learning environment. It is truly a joy to be involved in this newest of the John Scottus Schools.

Elizabeth Dempsey, Head teacher and Manager, John Scottus Primary and Pre-school, Old Conna

Alumni in profile

Interested in what some of your peers have been up to since graduating? We have started with a small selection of Alumni, but we will be adding to it soon. We’ve all had different journeys, so if you’d be willing to share yours in an alumni profile, please get in touch with us.

Alumni survey

Now you know where we are and what we’re doing, we’d love to know where you are and what you’re doing! This survey will only take a moment to complete, but it will allow us to build up our Alumni database and will let us know what connection you’d like with us. We look forward to hearing from you:

Your name will be entered in a draw for a €50 One4All voucher if you complete the survey.

With best wishes,

The JSS Alumni Team

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