This document outlines the ways in which parents can become involved in the school, as well as how best to communicate if they have anything they want to bring to the school’s attention.
HOW EDUCATE TOGETHER SCHOOLS WORK
From time to time parents/guardians wish to bring certain matters to the attention of the school. In “Communication between home and school” below we set out the procedure for doing this but first we describe the make-up of the school, which helps to explain why this procedure makes sense.
The four core principles of Educate Together (ET) are:
- Child-centred: Educate Together schools are committed to active learning approaches that encourage children to interact with their peers and teachers while they learn. Educate together schools are focused on helping each individual child reach his or her full academic and social potential.
- Co-educational: ET schools are committed to encouraging all children to explore their full range of abilities and opportunities. Boys and girls learn and socialize together in the school environment. This approach delivers the best educational and social development for children.
- Multi-denominational: all children have equal rights of access to the school, and children of all social, cultural and religious backgrounds are equally respected.
- Democratically run: Dublin 7 ET is established as a national school, and in common with all national schools it has a Board of Management (BoM) consisting of eight people (the principal, one teachers' nominee, two parents' nominees, two wider community representatives and two patron nominees). The patron of the school is the Educate Together national body. The BoM sets up sub-committees from time to time which deal with areas such as after-school activities, premises, policies etc.
Under section 15 of the Education Act 1998, “It shall be the duty of the board to manage the school on behalf of the patron and to provide or cause to be provided an appropriate education for each student at the school for which that board has responsibility.”
The school also has a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). The Education Act 1998 provides that it shall “promote the interest of the students in a school in co-operation with the board, principal, teachers and students”.
Every parent in the school is automatically a member of the PTA, which is affiliated to the National Parents’ Council. The PTA meets regularly and organises events which contribute to the school in community, social and financial terms. A committee is elected annually and is open to all parents to put themselves forward. The PTA also has sub-committees which deal with parental involvement, building and traffic and the school yard, as well as one for the parents of children with special needs.
Parental involvement in the school is very welcome, and can take place in a number of ways, such as:
- being an active member of the Parent Teacher Association;
- joining a sub-committee of the PTA or the BoM;
- helping out with the PTA on occasions such as the bazaar, summer fete etc.;
- bringing an idea to the school for activities or helping out in the school (in accordance with the parental involvement policy, also on the school website);
- helping out as requested from time to time in the newsletter;
- joining the Board of Management (the term of the board is four years, the current board runs until November 2015).
The ET national body is itself in turn democratically run. At the AGM every year, motions are put forward by schools on issues they consider important, and are voted on by representatives of all the schools attending the meeting. These issues range from financial ones (annual contribution to ET) to ethos and other issues, such as in recent years encouraging ET to become more involved in campaigns to start second-level schools, which has resulted in the approval of eight new ET second-level schools to date.
Communication between Home and School:
There is a policy around communication between home and school. This can be found in the policies section on the school website, d7educatetogether.com but is summarised below. In addition, parents have the chance in the morning between 8.30 and 8.40 to talk to the teacher informally in the classroom about any minor issues.
If any parent or guardian has an issue they wish to raise more formally with the school, there is a procedure consisting of five stages as summarised below. This is a nationally accepted procedure devised by the INTO and the school management bodies. In order to maintain the best possible relationship between parent/guardian and classroom teacher and all other staff members, it is really important that these stages are followed.
Parents/guardians should first approach the class teacher concerned and make an appointment to discuss the issue.
If the issue cannot be resolved between the parent/guardian and that teacher, then it is open to either parent/guardian or teacher to go to the Principal with a view to resolving the issue.
If things have not been resolved by this time, then the chairperson of the Board of Management may be approached by either party.
If the issue relates to the school in a broader sense rather than just the individual child, the parent may wish to talk to the Principal about it instead.
If an agreement still cannot be reached, the issue should be put in writing to the chairperson of the BoM. The chairperson should bring the precise nature of the written complaint to the notice of the teacher and seek to resolve the matter between the parties with five days of receipt of the written complaint.
If the complaint is not resolved informally, the chairperson should, subject to the general authorisation of the board, supply the teacher with a copy of the written complaint; and arrange a meeting with the teacher and, where applicable, the principal teacher with a view to resolving the complaint. Such a meeting should take place within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint.
If the complaint is still not resolved the chairperson should make a formal report to the board within 10 days of the meeting, and the board should investigate if it considers that the complaint is substantiated.
When the board has completed its investigation, the chairperson should convey the decision of the board in writing to the teacher and the complainant within five days of the meeting of the board. The decision of the board shall be final.