Parents of primary school students will note with interest Balla Secondary School’s recent announcement that they will be offering free schoolbooks to the first 50 incoming first year students in 2013.
The rural school in Castlebar’s hinterland caters for both boys and girls and readers of this paper will have seen the happy faces of its students featured here for a range of academic and sporting achievements. Now it seems, it will be the parents who will be smiling.
In these difficult recessionary times, the Balla school seems to have managed the impossibility of doing ‘more with less’. Principal Mary Reaney explained that the school’s focus on recycling, coupled with the introduction of a state-of-the-art electronic bar-coding system, had facilitated the initiative as part of a school-wide programme to reduce waste and costs. “It costs over €300 to purchase books for an incoming first year,” she said, before noting that the school has always endeavoured to keep costs low for parents through their book scheme. “This year however, we are in a position to go further. The process of attaining our Green Flag, the specific cycle of first year books, where many books are used for one year only, the respect our students show their books, and a commitment by staff to rejecting unnecessary new editions, has meant that we can take this step to ease the demands on parents of the expensive transition from primary to secondary.”