Mission Statement

“Enabling Excellence in Education”

St. Joseph’s N.S. is committed to the provision of the highest quality education for all its pupils by enabling each child to reach his/her full potential and maximise the benefits of the educational system.

St. Joseph’s N.S

St Josephs 

School History

St Joseph’s National School opened its doors in 1979. The building of the new housing estate of Muirhevnamór had begun in 1975 and it had soon become apparent that the fast expanding population of that estate and of other estates at the lower end of Long Avenue, including Avondale and Seafield Lawns, would need a new school. At this time Muihevnamór and the surrounding developments were part of the parish of St. Patrick’s and so it fell to the administrator, Fr. Donnelly, to oversee the setting up of the school. 

The initial intake of Junior Infant pupils were taught by the newly appointed Principal Gerry Murphy, a native of Knockbridge, and Vice-Principal, Freda Carville, from Dundalk Town. These classes were located in pre-fab buildings near the front gates and the students were dressed in a uniform of grey jumper, shirt, trousers/skirt and a navy/grey tie. The current red and navy uniform was introduced in the early 90s following consultation with parents.  In 1980 an all-Irish stream was established within the school. This stream, where students received their education completely immersed in the Irish language was very popular and much later became a separate school within the parish, Scoil Chriost Ri (now called Gaelscoil Dun Dealgan).

By now work had begun on the new school buildings, designed by local architect Jack McGahon, and the Marist Fathers had been invited to take over administration of the newly formed parish of the Holy Family. Father Des Hunt became the Parish Administrator and also the Chairman of St. Joseph’s School Board of Management. The Marist Fathers continue to administer the parish and Fr. Hunt has since been succeeded as Chairman by Fr. Sean McArdle, Fr. Christy Duffy, Fr. Edwin McCallion, Fr. John Harrington and Fr. Jim O’Connell. The current Chairperson of St. Joseph’s School Board of Management is Sr. Joan Watters, a member of the Mercy Sisters, who are resident in the parish. 

The new school building was officially opened by Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich in 1984 and by now student numbers had risen to over 800 with a staff of 26. During the 90s staff numbers would continue to grow and also be enhanced with the introduction of a CEDP scheme which facilitated many members of the community working within the school as classroom assistants and ancillary staff. Many other community-based agencies, such as Obair (community employment), Springboard (family support), Right Start and Lios na nOg (both pre-schools), School Completion and a specialized Speech and Language Therapy unit have set up on the school campus. The diversity of services available on campus has greatly enhanced the ability of the school to offer a high quality educational experience to our pupils and places the school rightly at the heart of the community. These services were further enhanced in 2005 when the Department of Education announced a new support service for schools in economically disadvantaged areas called DEIS. St. Joseph’s school was included in this service, which provides additional funding and staff and the school now gained a fulltime Home School Community Liaison teacher. This position was initially filled by Marcella O Conluain and subsequently by Colette Murphy and the current incumbent, Benny McArdle.

The changes in Irish society in the 2000s were evident in St. Joseph’s with the arrival of students from many other countries. The school now has a vibrant international population with representatives of 16 other nations among both students and staff. The international connections have recently been progressed with a member of staff Dr. Roz Brady traveling to Nigeria to deliver the Key Note Speech at an education conference on literacy.

The Parents and Friends Association of St. Joseph’s has been in existence since the earliest days of the school. They have been a constant support to the staff and students and are very much partners in both the education of their children and in the development of the school. There is an open door policy and parents have had an input in the design of all school-based initiatives and in many policies. Parents are invited to attend many events including Show The Way days, Reading for Fun/Maths for Fun days, school concerts, sports events and, of course, individual teacher/parent conferences. They have also been very active in fund raising to assist the students in every possible way. 

After over 32 years at the helm, Mr. Gerry Murphy retired from St. Joseph’s School in February 2012.  He has since been replaced as Principal by Marcella O Conluain. Marcella’s position as Deputy Principal has been taken by Roz Brady. Both of these teachers are in the school since 1980 so there is a great sense of continuity as well as progress. 

In recent years all staff in St. Joseph’s have undergone rigorous training in the Incredible Years Programme. This is a collaborative programme between parents, staff and students which promotes a positive approach to behaviour management. Staff training, parent courses and small-group Dina School for some students have all helped frame the philosophy of the school, which aims to develop each child’s intellectual, physical, creative, emotional, moral, social and spiritual growth.


The body responsible for  the running of the school is called the Board of Management. It is made up of eight people. The Board is elected every four years. The members of the board are representative of the various partners in education. The present Board of Management chairperson is Sr. Joan Watters. 

Structure of the Board

  • Two nominees of the patron
  • School Principal, appointed ex officio
  • Staff member elected by the school staff
  • Parents elected from parents of students attending school
  • Core board must then unanimously appoint two members from the wider community.
Members of the Board
  • Sr. Joan Watters (Chairperson/Patrons Nominee) 
  • Fr Paddy Stanley (Patrons Nominee)
  • Marcella O Conluain (Principal)
  • Shane McEntee (Staff Nominee) 
  • Position to be filled (Parent Nominee)
  • Benny Mc Donald (Parent Nominee)
  • Anne Watters (Wider Community)
  • Paddy Larkin (Wider Community)