The first records of a school in Rathfarnham date to 1801. By 1825, we are certain that there were three primary schools in operation in the Rathfarnham area. The evidence of the beginning of Rathfarnham Parish National School is clear from around 1826 as we are aware that the school was supported by the local rector throughout the years 1826-27.
The school joined the National School system in January 1896. Rathfarnham Parish National School was now a state funded school and the first state paid teacher was appointed. She was Ms. Elizabeth Tuthill and she had previously been employed in Whitechurch National School. In 1896 the manager Rev. Fredrick Franklin applied to the government for financial aid for the school. As a result a report was carried out and a new building was sanctioned.
The Old School
The school was built in the church grounds with no connection to the church buildings. The school was erected from private funds with one room, which was also used for parish meetings. The teacher lived in part of the building.
The parish provided annual financial support for the teacher. There were no school fees and the school was for local children of all religious denominations.
In 1896 the name of the school was changed to Rathfarnham Village Parish School. In 1905 Rev. Fredrick Franklin died and Rev. Sandys Bird became the new manager. Miss West became the teacher.
During the period 1916-1917 the position of the school was a topic of discussion. There were proposals that the school should join with the nearby Zion National School. A survey of the number of pupils attending the school was carried out and it was decided to keep Rathfarnham Parish School open. It was hoped that after the war a building boom would bring new families to the area. Miss Keegan was appointed to the school as Principal in 1917 but moved to Kingstown in November that year. She was replaced the in January 1918 by Miss Campbell.
On the Move
In 1962 due to damp conditions in the old school the 12 pupils and Miss Harding the Principal were moved to the War Memorial Hall in Rathfarnham Road. Later that year a second teacher was appointed to the school making it a two-teacher school for the first time.
The Memorial Hall
Due to population expansion in the Rathfarnham area the Parish School was becoming more popular and the days of falling numbers were gone. Now the school was getting too big with an ever-growing number of pupils to be accommodated. Two more teachers were appointed bringing the staff to four, but the conditions in the Memorial Hall were becoming cramped and unsuitable. Another location needed to be found.
In 1970, Mrs May Gillis donated a site off Washington Lane for the building of a new school. Planning permission was sought and work began. In 1971 the new school at Washington Lane was opened.
The Present School
The school was built as a four-teacher school but shortly after it was finished extra enrolments had brought the staff to five teachers. To accommodate the demand for places two temporary buildings were added, one in 1976 and another in 1980. In 1984 two rooms in the school were closed for a short period as renovations needed to be made to the structure of one the temporary buildings. The roof was unsafe and needed the insertion of steel props to support it.
At this time the Board of Management applied to the Department of Education for permission to build an extension to the school. This meant the removal of the temporary buildings. In 1986 this permission was granted. The extension consisted of three new classrooms, a staff room, Principal’s office, library, Learning Support room and an Assembly Hall. As the school was in session while the construction work was carried out some pupils were accommodated in temporary buildings on the site. The staff and pupils moved into the renovated school on the 30th of November 1990.
In 1998 the original library was converted into a new computer room. The library, was then moved into the school assembly hall to make space for special education rooms.
A new reception area and library was added in 2010 and some internal rooms were reconfigured at the same time to include new resource rooms and a larger staffroom.
Today the staff of the school has now grown to 15 teachers, 4 Special Needs Assistants, 1 classroom assistant, a school secretary and caretaker. The number of pupils on roll is 226 approximately.
The principal is Mrs. Joyce Perdue and the Deputy Principal is Mr. Eoin Leonard.