School’s Philosophy 

Athenry Vocational School aims to develop in its pupils a wide range of skills, knowledge and understanding within a secure and happy environment that encourages the student to grow in self-confidence and in respect for one another.

Large School – Small Classes

Athenry Vocational School is arguably the largest rural Vocational School in
Ireland. From an initial enrolment of 64 first year students in 1968 to the present student enrolment of 760 students is by any degree most significant and impressive. This dramatic increase in student numbers is attributable in the main to the reputation the school has as a centre of educational excellence. Innovation and adaptation, fair but firm discipline are all readily recognisable features of the school.

While the school is indeed large by any standards it has always been school policy to keep classes as small as is humanly possible. To this end we have no First Year class in excess of 24 students and we shall continue to strive to maintain this most favourable pupil teacher ratio.

Looking Ahead – B.B.S. Degree Course

It is our wish to go on serving the needs of the people of our area. We intend to proceed by honestly and constructively evaluating our past and present and by being percipient with regard to the future demands and educational needs of the area we serve. To this end we are offering the B.B.S. degree course (Bachelor of Business Studies) in this school as from September 1996. If any individual or group of people would wish a certain programme or course of study be available in the Athenry area, we extend an open invitation, through the Athenry Journal, to contact us and we give our assurance that we will be willing respondents.

Setting the Records

We have the unique and special distinction of winning five All Ireland Hurling Championships in a row. We take particular pride in this magnificent achievement and this is just one facet of sport and leisure activity that is exceptionally well catered or in our school. We, however, wish to publicly acknowledge the immense contribution made by national schools, clubs and individuals in developing the talents and skills of young people.
We just continue with the development of their talents and skills when they enrol with us.

Future Development 

We are in the process of erecting a large Canteen/Multi Purpose hall. This project is parent led and we wish to acknowledge the inestimable contribution of our Parents’ Council and our parents in general. They already have provided us with a playing pitch at a cost of £68,000 and now have funded the Canteen/Multi Purpose hall to the extent of £l00,000. We are blessed in having such an active, positive and constructive Parents’ Council. As we look to the future may that future be as bright as our past is proud.

To the passer-by, Carnaun National School is not an imposing structural landmark huddled in its rural, pastoral setting. It is, however, in a local and national context an educational establishment of considerable note and significance.

This begs the question—what are the factors that constitute a centre of excellence? Spacious classrooms and other modern ancillary facilities, though most desirable and good in themselves, are not what makes Carnaun distinctive and a centre with a proud tradition of excellence. The answer lies in the calibre and professionalism of successive generations of teachers who formed the teaching staff of that school down through the years. It has been widely known for its strong instructional leadership, its safe and orderly climate for learning, its high teacher expectations where school time is protected for learning. This strong instructional leadership, which I refer to, is synonymous with the O’Regan family.

Shortly after coming to Athenry, many many years ago, I had been at a non-educational conference in a South of Ireland town. Socialising in the evening and meeting some participants who were attending the conference the usual questions were asked as to our various destinations. I gave Athenry as mine and a person in the company asked me if it was far from Carnaun National School. I then got an up-date of the special awards bestowed on the personnel of that school for distinguished teaching. I had to admit to my colleague that I was in a learning situation but instantly felt proud that a small rural school could be so widely known and after listening to my informant, I hasten to add deservedly so.

The school I am now attached to has a long and fruitful association with Carnaun National School, its parents and pupils. Whenever I call to the school I am always impressed by the cheerful busyness and the willing helpfulness which prevails. This caring, pleasant atmosphere has, I submit, prepared Carnaun National School pupils to make the transition safely and securely to second-level schools and something which parents and school should be very proud of.

Mr. Finbarr O’Regan and his committed and dedicated staff, for providing a learning environment where children can learn to grow in a caring, loving atmosphere, deserve the gratitude, esteem and respect of the entire community.

To the teachers, parents and pupils of Carnaun National School our wish for you over the next 100 years is: “May your future be as bright as your past is proud”.