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Tag Archives: Education Minister

Religion’s role in school entry addressed

Plans to reform the school admissions system in relation to the role that religion can play in that process have been outlined by Education Minister Richard Bruton. In a speech at a seminar organised by Equate, a campaign group in this area, Minister Bruton stated that he believes that it is unfair that preference is given by publicly-funded religious schools to children of their own religion who might live some distance away, ahead of children of a different religion or of no religion who live close to the school. The Minister also stated his belief that it is unfair that parents, who might otherwise not do so, feel pressure to baptise their children in order to gain admission to the local school. Minister Bruton set out four possible approaches for dealing with the issue, in primary schools in the first instance, including: A catchment area approach, prohibiting religious schools from giving preference to children of their own religion who live …

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School leadership centre for Ennis

The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, has formally announced the establishment of the Centre for School Leadership (CSL), which will be headquartered in Ennis. It is being established for an initial pilot period of three years, with an investment of almost €3m over that time. It will be operated on a partnership basis between the Department of Education and Skills, the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) and the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD). The CSL is intended to become a centre of excellence for school leaders, and the partnership will have many benefits for the profession in terms of the quality of training programmes, coordination of provision, and increased accessibility. The centre will be headed by a director ,who will be an experienced school principal. He or she will be supported by two other experienced school leaders, one each from the primary and post-primary sectors. The team will be recruited in the coming weeks. The …

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Reprieve for small primary schools

SMALL primary schools facing the threat of losing a teacher due to falling numbers have been given some breathing space this week, as a result of a decision by Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan. Affecting schools mainly in rural parishes, new retention regulations will give a slightly improved pupil/teacher ratio in two to four-teacher school scenarios. Nationally, close on 60% of primary schools have four teachers or less. Minister O’Sullivan revealed that the new retention schedule for the 2015/16 school year will be 19 pupils, rather than 20, to retain a second teacher; 53 pupils, rather than 56, to retain a third teacher and 83 pupils, rather than 86, to retain a fourth teacher. While generally supportive of the decision to reduce the number of pupils required to retain teachers in small schools, Labasheeda National School principal, Liam Woulfe, said the change “will not greatly aid two-teacher schools”. Following two appeals, Labasheeda was able to show that it had the required …

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New Archbishop seeks protection for small schools

THE  new Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Kieran O’Reilly, says the Government should look at innovative ways of safeguarding the future of small rural national schools in Clare. Archbishop O’Reilly, who will remain on as administrator of the Killaloe Diocese until he is installed as Archbishop in Thurles next February, believes the Department of Education should be flexible in its approach to the retention of two-teacher and small rural schools. In an interview with The Clare Champion, he said the Government shouldn’t operate a one-size-fits-all strategy, which may work in the east of the country but would be out of place in the West of Ireland. “The Government has to adapt and adjust to social and demographic realities. I think we must always keep the importance of small rural schools on the agenda. Every voice in a local area must support our education system and the values it hands down to our children. “We all have to keep our eyes very …

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Elysha encourages support for volunteer programme

A Clare student joined Education Minister, Jan O’Sullivan and her Northern Ireland counterpart, John O’Dowd at an event this week to encourage Ireland’s youth to apply for the 2015 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards Programme. The awards programme recognises young people for exemplary volunteer service and Elysha Ní Chulain from Bunratty, a student at Coláiste Íde in Daingean Uí Chúis, Kerry, last year’s winner, endorsed the initiative. At the reception in Dublin, both ministers encouraged schools across the island to nominate young people who give their time, energy and spirit to make a positive impact on their communities. The call was supported by The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) and The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). For more details www.pramerica.ie.  

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