Archive for the 'General School Updates' Category

Inside Education on 103.2 Dublin City FM

I know that very many of the readers of this Blog are people in our school community and the wider Balbriggan community who have a deep seated interest in Education. It is both to my great shame and delight that I have only just now found an excellent radio documentary programme on Irish Education braodcast on 103.2 Dublin City FM ( Sundays 6.30pm) and are available through easily accesible podcast on this link . To date there are 48 programmes in the archive, and our own Student Council and their views on Teacher Recruitment features in Programme 48 ( first broadcast live on Sunday June 6th). Some really interesting programmes in this series (in my opinion) are:

  • our friend and adviser Simon Lewis ( Principal of Carlow ETNS) offering his wealth of knowledge and opinion on Technology for the Whole School ( Programme 38),
  • Programme 32 on Bullying in Schools
  • Programme 18 Seamus Heaney on Poetry and Pedagogy
  • and much much more on muticulturalism, special needs education, drama , mathematics……

Congrats to Sean Delaney ( Marino) and Barry Hennessy ( journo) on this wonderful initiative. Please feel free to leave a comment and I’d especially love to hear what highlights you have found and what, in your opinion, might be relevant to the develpment of best-practice in our own school.


Recruiting Teachers: The children have their say!

It’s that time of the year when we recruit more teachers for our school. This year, for the first time in our school, the children have been consulted through their Student Council. First of all they discussed and listed the characteristics they would like in a teacher. The teacher should be ‘patient’, ‘be gentle and honest’, ‘be fair’, ‘ be good at explaining’, ‘be equal between being strict and kind’, ‘easy going’ and ‘like to listen to children’. To fit in to the current staff they would need to be ‘sporty’, ‘have a good sense of humour’, ‘enthusiastic about things’ and ‘fun’. Some questions for the interview were suggested: “Are you interested in teaching children?”, “How would you deal with a very bold child?” ( bold children? surely not!), “What is your teaching strength?” , “Tell me your typical teaching day” and the perennial for all of us on good-days and not-so-good-days “Why did you want to become a teacher?”.

Most daunting of all, and one that makes me glad that I already have a job here, the children are unanimous that any new teacher must have ‘a good mind’. Now how can you prove that over the course of an interview!

School Development Plan: A Vision for the next Five Years

All of the communities that make up the school; the children, the teachers, the parents, the care-workers, the Board of Management, DES Inspectorate and the Patron Body ( Educate Together) are invited to become involved in a collaborative process aimed at devising a School Development Plan that will guide the school in its parctice over the coming five years. Already the school is given excellent guidance by a National Curriculum ( 1998 Revised Curriculum) and by the seminal documents “What is an Educate Together?” (booklet, including the Educate Togerther Charter) and by the “Learn Together: The ethical curriculum of Eductae Together Schools”. However, the school must make these curricula and principles come to life and be visible in the daily practice of the school. The school’s first five-year plan ( 2005-2010) imagined the setting up of a number of protocols, flagship activities, policy directions, policy priorities all of which are visible in the life of the school on a day-to-day basis and across the calendar of the school year. Initiatives such as our Arts Week, our Human Rights Month, Our Get Active Week, After-School Programmes and our policies on discipline, enrolment, anti-bullying, multiculturalism, home-school liaison etc are examples of these. But as with any institution there is value in self-reflection and evaluation by others. Perhaps there are new directions that the school should embark upon? Perhaps there are initiatives that are being currently undertaken that could be replaced by new projects and ventures? That is what this process is all about and we look forward to your input and engagement.

Sine Flu Vaccination Update

The HSE have just got back to us to inform us that the children from our school, if accompanied by aparent, may receive the H1N1 (Swine Flu) Vaccinations free of charge in the Failte Balbriggan Centre ( formerly the St George’s NS Building) on Hampton Street, Balbriggan from 2.30pm to 3.30pm on Friday March 12th. Parents must ensure to bring along a completed Vaccintation Form which will be distributed to all children in the school this week.

Swine Flu H1N1 Vaccinations

The HSE have, finally, contacted the school to let us know that they will be administering the H1N1 innoculation in mid-March. Unfortunately our school premises do not meet their requirements ( or ours either, I hasten to add!), so they are offering our parents/children a two hour slot in the Balbriggan HSE clinic ( Hampton Street). They have been unable to specify a date and time-slot yet, but will get back to me on that. I will communicate this to all the parents when I have been informed. In addition I will distribute the complex pre-Innoculation form to each home. This means that the responsibility lies with the parent to collect the child from school on this specified day and to bring the child independently to the clinic for vaccination along with the completed pre-Innoculation form. We will not allow a child to be withdrawn from the school for the purpose of this visit by anybody other than his/her own parent unless we have been informed in writing in advance, and we will hold strictly to this protocol. The parent may then choose to return the child to the school after the vaccination if the parent is confident that the child is not suffering any after-effect.

The develoment of the school over the next five years

The school is now in its fifth year, and the school’s original Fve Year Plan is coming to an end. The process of mapping out the next five years for the school has begun! Shortly parents will be invited to a sries of sessions where they can play an active role in shaping the school’s future, keep a close eye on the Parent Newsletters for details. In the meantime the school’s teachers and care-staff have begun to have their say in a series of workshops and meetings. The children through the Student Council will have their say too. Invitations to the Patron Body ( Educate Together) and to our other partner orgainisations for their views and suggestions have been issued.It is hoped to complete the work by June 2010, and to start to implement the new plan in September 2010 coincidental to moving into our nw building. Excitiing times!

New primary school for Balbrigan area!

I was delighted to learn today of the development of a new primary school for the Balbriggan area under the Patronage of the Co. Dublin VEC. We have contacted the DES to find out more about this development: where exactly it will be located? how prospective parents/children may apply for school places? etc. I will keep you informed as I learn more.

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