Gurraneasig National School is located very close to Howe Strand between Kilbrittain and Ballinspittle, with children travelling from as far as Kinsale, Bandon, Innishannon, Timoleague, Ballinadee and Kilmacsimon. The grounds are surrounded by fields, trees and small winding lanes and just 5 minutes walk to the beach, as a result the pupils enjoy unique access to the sea for all sorts of activities including; sports, seaweed harvesting, art projects, surfing lessons. The school has a garden which grows vegetables, feeds birds and bees and promotes biodiversity.
Indoors the school has 3 classrooms, a library and an art room, with 5 teachers and an average of between 60 to 70 pupils. There are two SET teachers who have use of a sensory space for those that need it. The school also has 25 iPads that are used through out the school to compliment the teaching.
I love my school because I can be myself.— Mae, aged 10
Gurraneasig prides itself on its positive, supportive and friendly atmosphere. The children come from diverse backgrounds and creeds. Visitors always remark on the child centred environment both inside and outside of the building. The Board of Management, the Parent Association, the dedicated staff and the local community all work together to ensure the continued running of the school because small schools such as ours, have so much to offer – especially in these modern times.
When the present Gurraneasig N.S. opened its doors in1961 to the local children, it was a one teacher school with Mrs. Fitzgerald, Clashreagh, as Príomhoide and sole teacher. Mrs. Fitzgerald retired shortly afterwards and Mrs. Teresa Ahern, Harbour View, took over as Príomhoide. The numbers soon increased and a second classroom teacher was appointed. The designer of the building had the foresight to anticipate such an increase because the large classroom had a partition that could be drawn and when drawn, it became two classrooms with a fire place in both rooms.
Storage heaters which had been installed failed to work, so they were abandoned in favour of the open fires which were later changed to stoves. There was no Board of Management appointed until 1980, so Mrs. Ahern had to call on her husband, Frank and supportive parents to do the odd jobs to keep the school safe and comfortable e.g. fix broken windows and cut the briars etc. The teachers had to light the fires as their first job every morning, to ensure heat for the day. A caretaker was appointed in the mid 80’s so that job was taken out of the hands of teachers. Our school also had one of the first lay chairpersons of Board of Management when Mr. Barry O Sullivan was appointed by Fr. McCarthy in 1987.
In 2002 the school at 41 years old was refurbished. Central heating was introduced and 2 prefabs were set up as an extra classroom and a much needed staff room. In 2006 the school was granted a full time Learning Support/Resource Teacher and in 2007 a third classroom teacher was appointed. Also in 2006 part of the concrete area and the old shelter were demolished and a new tarmacadam basketball court was laid, complete with a new double sized shelter.
In March 2006 the Board of Management Chairperson, Mrs. Marian Moloney, was informed that a grant was being made available by the Dept. of Education and Science to replace the pre fabs with proper build rooms. These are exciting times for our school. We are delighted now that the building work is completed and our learning environment is enhanced by increased space and light.
September 2011 saw another change in the schools current history with the retirement of Mrs. Phil Deasy as Principal & Teacher. She was a wonderful teacher & a “in loco parentis” mother for many a child during her 33 years of teaching. She had great vision for the school and under her careful guidance it grew into to the fantastic school that it is today. With the support of its teachers, parents & local community, the school will continue to grow & educate its pupils over the next course of its history.