NPC Fred O'Connell Award 2016


The Award ceremony took place at the NPC Education Conference 2016 on the 28th of May 2016

The NPC Fred O'Connell Award recognises innovative partnership work between parents and schools which supports children to have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

The winners of the NPC Fred O'Connell Award 2016 were announced at the NPC Conference on the 28th of May 2016.

2016 saw some wonderful entries to our competition to highlight the work of Parent Associations around the country.

Once again there was a variety of ideas and approaches but the common factor was the involvement of parents in their children’s education.

There were two outstanding projects and the judges couldn’t decide between them so it was decided to award joint first place to both.

One of these was the Parent Association of St. Kevin’s National School in Greystones, Co Wicklow.  The Parent Association in this school organised a “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Week”.

This included Yoga and self defence workshops for children, food tasting, a sponsored walk, a recipe book of healthy meals and a NPC talk on promoting positive mental health and well being in children.  In total over 80 parents were involved in this week and there was strong collaboration between the school and the Parent Association.

St. Kevin's Cookbook & St. Kevin's Healthy Mind Healthy Body Week photos

Our other joint winner was the Parent Association of St. Colmcille’s National School in Knocklyon, South Dublin. As one of the largest schools in Ireland (with over 1550 pupils) the Parent Association sees communication as a challenge. Their entry to our award was based around improving the way they keep in touch with parents and was entitled “Connecting with Parents and Helping Parents Connect”.

Their first action was to include photos and brief details of committee members on their website and in their newsletter. They followed this up with invitations to sign up to their website. Once you have signed up you get an email link when events are posted on the website. They have found that this increased parents’ awareness of what is happening in school and allowed those unable to attend events get a better insight into what goes on. A committee member attended each school event and wrote a piece on it for the website, including photos where possible. The events included a grandparents’ day and Santa’s visit. They also organise a number of coffee mornings for parents during the year including mornings particularly for parents of children with additional educational needs.

St. Colmcille's Newsletter

The project which the judges felt was next in line was from the Parent Association of Newtown Junior School in New Ross Co. Wexford. The project is based around the organisation and upkeep of a school garden. Parents, teachers and children are involved in the planning and preparation of the garden.

A garden blog is put up on the school’s website so parents and children can get involved at home as well as at school. There are links to the school curriculum so again connections can be made between home and school.

Newtown Junior School Garden Plan

The Parent Association of St. Patrick’s National School, Baconstown, Enfield came third in this award. Their project focussed on their library. They had a new school with a purpose built library but very few books. Following an open meeting with all parents they decided to launch a library book appeal. This involved collaborating with all parents, staff and the wider community. When the books started to arrive the older children helped to categorise them.

The end result was a full library which the children use on a regular basis but also a real sense of achievement among parents, children and teachers.

Others who were awarded certificates include the Parent Association of Gurraneasig National School in County Cork. They produced a silent film with involvement from parents, children and teachers.

The Perilous Pear DVD

The Parent Association of the Deanery School in Cashel, Co Tipperary was also awarded a certificate. They revamped their playground.  They raised funds to cover the costs in a variety of different ways and then collaborated with the whole school community to plan the layout and content of the playground.

The Deanery School Playground before and after

St. Mary’s National School in Enfield, Co. Meath were awarded a certificate for their project on International Day. They invited parents from all different backgrounds to prepare a stand which included information about their country from maps to food. Each class was then brought to view the stand. They also gave an option to parents who couldn’t be present on the day to prepare a project with their children during midterm which the children could then showcase.

St. Mary's Enfield International Day Tips and Photos 

The NPC Fred O’Connell Award seeks to shine a light on the excellent partnership work that we know Parent Associations are engaging in across Ireland.   

Photos of the prize giving ceremony at the NPC Conference 2016 are on the RHS