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Education options in & around Barna, Galway

Every parent wants the best for their children, particularly when it comes to education. Luckily in and around Barna, Galway you really have some excellent choices.

Every parent wants the best for their children, particularly when it comes to education. You’ve cherished, tended and watched over them from infancy, delighting in each stage of their development; each milestone reached, and before you know it the time for pre-school, then swiftly primary school, beckons. The old proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” rhymes with the cultural ethos that it takes a caring, empowering community to nurture a child and bolster their unique sense of self. 

Preschools in Barna

Starting school is a big step and a wonderful opportunity for children (and parents) to meet other people and forge new friendships. Barna and the local vicinity boast a number of excellent ECCE preschool services where young children are encouraged to explore the world, express themselves and build happy, respectful relationships with others. The Den Creche & Montessori, Happy Feet Creche & Afterschool, First Flight Creche & Montessori and Slí Burca Childcare are all within easy reach, providing safe and stimulating environments for your little ones, as they embark on their exciting learning journey.

Primary & Secondary Schools

Girl on laptop in front of book shelves

The parish has three national schools to choose from: Scoil Shéamais Naofa, in Barna village, Scoil na bhForbacha, in Furbo, and Buaile Beag N.S., in Boleybeg.

Scoil Shéamais Naofa and Scoil na bhForbacha are co-educational Gaeltacht schools, in which all subjects, except English, are taught through Irish. While some children come from Irish-speaking homes, many others are brought up speaking English – either way, once they start school they quickly acclimatise to learning through Irish, and indeed international research shows that children who have been exposed to a second language in their early years generally show an aptitude for further language learning down the line. Young brains are extraordinarily pliable and sponge-like, making second (or even third) language acquisition as easy as ABC! For teaching and learning through English, Buaile Beag N.S., is just a stone’s throw away in Boleybeg. All three schools have an enrolment of roughly 250 pupils.

Outside the classroom, children can enjoy a wide selection of after-school activities such as basketball, soccer, GAA, speech & drama, art, dance and badminton. Sport and extracurricular activities are a fantastic outlet, allowing children to socialise, have fun, be active and express themselves. The beautiful location of these schools, overlooking Galway Bay and the coast of County Clare with the spectacular backdrop of the Connemara Mountains, imbues the teaching and learning environment with a distinctive creative and linguistic quality.

In terms of post-primary schools, there are a number of nearby options. Coláiste Na Coiribe, in Knocknacarra, is a popular all-Irish secondary school with 550 students. Scoil Chroi Mhuire, in Spiddal, is another well-liked ‘scoil Gaeltachta.’ Salerno Girls Secondary School and Coláiste Éinde, both located in Salthill, are also excellent choices. Barna’s close proximity to Galway city, just 10 minutes away, adds to the second-level mix with St Joseph’s Patrician College, aka “The Bish”, an all-boys favourite; and Our Lady’s College Galway providing innovative education for girls. A positive, enriching atmosphere in which students can continue to fulfil their potential is at the core of all post-primary schools in the area. Secondary education coincides with the formative teenage years, a period when young people are finding themselves, trying to figure the world out, whilst also attempting to pinpoint what they would like to do after school.

Third Level in Galway

nuig Galway. Photo by William Murphy
NUIG, Galway

Living in Barna means that there are outstanding third level colleges on your doorstep, and several local post-primary schools have well established links with the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). These institutions heavily promote the STEM subjects (in the fields of science, computer & information technology and mathematical sciences), as well as coding and App building. Galway is the hub of the biotech industry in the west of Ireland and a number of second-level schools have collaborated closely with these businesses, encouraging students, through the likes of work experience programmes in Transition Year, to become the business brains of the future. NUI Galway’s history dates back to 1845 and ranks among the top 1% of Universities worldwide. It offers an extensive range of full time and part time undergraduate and postgraduate courses and is internationally renowned for its superb research and innovation. Its student population of over 18,000 makes it one of Ireland’s busiest, liveliest and most charming university campuses.

GMIT Galway Mayo Institute of Technology
GMIT Library - Galway Mayo Institute of Tech

GMIT Galway campus has four Schools of study: the School of Business, the School of Engineering, the School of Science & Computing, and Galway International Hotel School. It also founded two Innovation Hubs (iHubs) at its Galway and Mayo campuses, providing a range of start-up spaces and a portfolio of Business Development Supports to start-up enterprises. As with NUIG, GMIT has also a fantastic array of clubs and societies for students to enjoy outside of lectures. And, of course, the rich cultural life in Galway city itself allows students to strike the right balance between work and play.

Young girl studying photo by Annie Spratt. NUIG photo by William Murphy. GMIT photo © Suzanne Mischyshyn (cc-by-sa/2.0)

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