School Ethos & History

A school’s ethos is best expressed, helped to develop and enriched as a result of the continuing interaction between a shared dialogue on the core of the values of the school (involving the Patron, Trustees, Board of Management, Principal Teacher, Staff, Parents and Students) and the daily practices which endeavour to embody these values.  Ethos is established and sustained by those repeated practices and traditions, by the beliefs and attitudes promoted and by the goals aspired to by the school community. In the case of a catholic school, the following characteristics would be sought within the general ethos experienced and promoted by the school community:
  • As a formal agent of education within the catholic community, the school models and transmits a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • The policies, practices and attitudes of the school are inspired by Gospel values.
  • Christ, as the source of those values, is a familiar and attractive reality for the teachers and pupils.
  • Mary, the strong woman of the Gospels, is admired as the exempler of the values.
  • The school aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil, including his/her relationship with God, with other people and with the environment.
  • Religious education is provided for the pupils in accordance with the doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church.
  • Prayer is a feature of the school day.
  • The pupils are prepared for the reception of the sacrament of first confession, first holy communion and confirmation, in accordance with arrangements of the diocese.
  • The liturgical seasons are part of the rhythm of the school year.
  • The children are given opportunities to participate in liturgical celebrations arranged by the school.
  • The school identifies itself with its parish, working closely with the local priest (or priests) who visits the school frequently.
  • The pupils are encouraged to participate in parish activities appropriate to their age.
  • The school aims at fostering a sense of community between management, teachers, parents and pupils and a sense of assertion into the wider community of the parish.  Gradually, pupils acquire a sense of the Universal Church whose concern extends to all peoples.
  • The Principal Teacher and teachers aim at making the school a centre of excellence in which high professional standards are maintained and where pupils learn in a safe and happy environment.
  • A spirit of mutual respect is promoted within the school community.  Pupils are drawn by example and teaching to appreciate and respect people of different affiliations and of different nationalities.
  • The school’s code of discipline reflects the Christian values promoted within the school, with an emphasis on forgiveness, reconciliation, new beginnings and hope.  Teachers are sensitive to the needs and particular circumstances of the pupils.
  • The school recognises the dignity and value of each person made in the image and likeness of God.  This is reflected in the organisation of the school (including admissions policies).
  • Close contact is maintained between the school and the home.  Parents and teachers support one another and collaborate with one another as partners in leading the young pupils to the fullness of their potential at the different stages.
  • Teachers are encouraged to develop their personal and professional talents through which they glorify God and serve those young people in whose education the play such a significant role.
  • Ancillary staff in the school are highly esteemed and respected.  It is recognised that their work makes a valuable contribution to the process of education.
  • A positive ethos, while intangible, is nonetheless recognised and appreciated as supportive and enlivening to those who learn and those who work in the school.


We in Gleneely National School endeavour to foster the emotional and social development of each individual child.  We do this by encouraging a positive attitude towards school and life in general.  A caring and disciplined environment will be provided where we hope the children will become responsible and contributing members of our society, aware of their own self-worth, while developing a sense of honesty and fair play. Each child will be encouraged to appreciate his/her own culture –local, national and global-and to respect the cultures of others.  Through this the children will come to recognise their own civic responsibilities.  Aesthetic awareness will be encouraged through exposure to many aspects of artistic work, thereby fostering creativity and imagination.  Intrinsic to all this and permeating throughout all our endeavours will be the spiritual and moral development of the children in the beliefs and the practices of the Catholic faith.


  • Promote positive attitudes and develop an appreciation of the value of language – spoken read or written.
  • Develop a positive attitude to learning.
  • Provide the tools necessary to locate, extract, record and interpret information from various sources.
  • Develop an appropriate range of comprehension strategies and problem-solving skills.
  • Develop listening skills with a view to enhancing understanding.
  • Understand computational skills and apply them with accuracy and speed, with a view to applying mathematical concepts.
  • Develop and apply basic environmental skills.
  • Apply basic scientific and technological skills and knowledge.
  • Develop an appreciation of and enjoyment of aesthetic activities, including music, visual arts, dance, drama and language.
  • Acquire a knowledge and understanding of the body and movement and develop agility and physical co-ordination.
  • Extend the child’s knowledge and understanding of and develop a range of skills and interests in the cultural, historical, geographical and scientific dimensions of the world.
  • Develop a positive awareness of self, a sensitivity towards other people and respect for the rights, views and feelings of others.

Gleneely National School –  A Brief History

The earliest mention of Gleneely N.S. that we have come across is recorded in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland – Parishes of County Donegal 2 1835-36, Mid, West & South Donegal Vol.39.  It lists the schools in each parish and the following is the extract relating to Gleneely N.S.
Gleneely: 23 Roman Catholic males, 11 Roman Catholic females, total 34; the teacher’s name is Alexander Craig.  He is a Roman Catholic and is supported by the scholars; he estimates his school to be worth on the average 6 pounds per annum.  He also boards with the scholars: he goes to each scholar day about.- Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland – Parishes of County Donegal 2 1835-36, Mid, West & South Donegal Vol.39
The old Gleneely School was built in 1847 at a cost of £70 on land owned by John Bradley.  It was a one roomed building with a fire at each end.  Two teachers taught there one at each end with their children facing them.  It was resold back to the Bradley family in 1959 at a cost of £200 and is still owned by Henry Bradley to this day. (Picture of old school) In 1958 a new building was constructed down the road on the present site. Below are the details of the building work Contractors: Paddy Doherty, his son John Doherty and his cousin Eamon Doherty, Cashel, Moville. Sub Contractors: Tommy & Colm Maxwell, Killygordon. Labourers: Local Men. John Canning, Drumcannon Kevin Canning, Drumcannon Vinncy Mc Connell, Mounthall Frank Kelly, Killygordon Work commenced on 23rd April 1958 and was completed on 11th October 1958.  Full contract was taken for £12,000. Painter: Charlie Tourish, Lifford Plumber: Mc Crudden’s Water tower and play sheds were completed by North West Asphalt, Derry. Gravel was taken from Tommy Moss in Donneyloop. Lawns were done by George Logue, Gleneely (Picture taken in 1986) In 1982, a third teacher was appointed to the school and a prefab was bought by the Board of Management from St. Columbas College in Stranorlar.  This prefab remained in place until 1994 when a permanent classroom was added to the original building. (prefab photo) (dedication of new classroom 3 photos)

Pre-Fab at Gleneely in 1982

May 2002 saw the biggest change ever to facilities in Gleneely.  The school was one of the first to benefit from extensive government grant aid, which saw the provision of an extra classroom, a general purpose room/hall, a library/resource room, a staff room and the complete refurbishment of the original school and 1994 extension. (official opening pictures 2) Following the major extension and refurbishment of 2002, numbers continued to rise and a fourth teacher was appointed in 2003.  To accommodate this fourth teacher, the library/resource room and store room were converted into a classroom.  Numbers have continued to rise and in September 2008 a fifth teacher was appointed and plans were put in place to build a further extension to provide another classroom and resource room was added in 2009. It appears that the building work, which provided such improved conditions in 1958, seems set to continue into the future!  Gleneely National School can be said to reflect the supportive and thriving community that is the Gleneely area.       Disclaimer: Historic Photographs in Gleneely National School