BOARD OF MANAGEMENT

The ETSS Wicklow Project started with a school manager appointed at the time of the campaign in 2018 to work with the community and the DES to get the project up and running. The school manager, Niall Wall, organised an interim board to be formed in June 2019. The interim board played a major role in the recruitment process as the project moved forward. 

In September 2019, the school manager and the Interim Board were replaced by a permanent Board of Management with two parent representatives, two teacher representatives, two student representatives, two nominees from the patrons, Educate Together, and two community representatives. The first meeting was in Sept. 2019 and the term of office is for three years. 

The Board of Management meets monthly during the school year. Reports from Board meetings are published on this page with the most recent meeting first: 

REPORTS FROM MEETINGS:

Tuesday 18 May 2021

  • The Student Council reported that the drama workshops were a great success and thanked the Board for supporting this initiative;
  • An audio version of the code of behaviour will be prepared by the Student Council in September;
  • The Student Council also thanked the Board for the end of year treat being planned - a burger for each student;
  • The Advisory Board reported that SSE Stage 6 for 2019-2020 was now in process (assessing impact of action plan on numeracy and literacy) and that SSE Stage 2 for 2020-2021 was now being prepared on the focus area of assessment;
  • The theme week plan will be reviewed as we look to embed quality educational experiences as highlights in the school calendar;
  • Peer observation week was organised in a new way with teachers choosing the subjects they wanted to see – this model was popular with the teachers;
  • The Board expressed thanks for the work done by the Advisory Board of Studies in promoting quality teaching and learning at the school;
  • Yoga classes are becoming very popular
  • A virtual climbing challenge was a great success and the participants were rewarded with a coastal cliff walk;
  • The SPHE & RSE Policy was approved to be published, as was the Homework Policy once two amendments from the PSA and two amendments from the Student Council had been built into the final version;
  • The staff will vacate Crinion Park in early June and move into the new location in August
  • There will be a busy recruitment season in June with the recruitment of a number of teachers and a new Deputy Principal
  • Three of our students are involved in running the Ireland Final of the Junior Debating Competition – the Board congratulated the students on showing great leadership skills to be running events at this level;
  • New guidelines are to be developed and published for PE gear next year – the students will choose the colours;   
  • The Board wishes everyone in the school community a great summer and looks forward to the new year in our new location;

Tuesday 20 April 2021

  • The report back from students about the Model United Nations was really positive with the students involved finding it a highly transformative educational experience;
  • With news breaking of a move to new accommodation this summer to a more suitable location for the school, the Student Council asked if members could visit the new temporary accommodation site – the Board agreed that once everything was established on an official basis, this will be accommodated – in the meantime, the Board asked the Student Council to open discussions with the students in all classes about the move and talk about how they are feeling about it – the feedback from these discussions will be brought to the Board in May;
  • The Advisory Board of Studies will focus on School Self-Evaluation (SSE) in the last part of the year – completing stage 6 of last year’s process which is feedback on the impact of the programme we developed for promotion of literacy and numeracy in the school and starting the new process of gathering information on the new focus for this year – our assessment practices. Teachers will look at the impact of new developments such as Athena Tracker and oral exams;
  • The Board recorded thanks to Amanda for starting yoga classes and Michelle for organising a virtual climbing challenge of Irish mountain peaks virtually;
  • A special going away presentation has been organised for Donal, outgoing Deputy Principal, on Friday 23 April;
  • The Covid-19 Response Plan has been enhanced since the reopening with the shortening of lunch time and an earlier finishing time. The Department of Education has contacted the school about an upcoming inspection of our plan as part of the ‘Supporting Safe Provision of Schooling (SSPS)’ reporting mechanism in place during the pandemic. This will take place on Wednesday 21 April and the report will be published on our website once we receive it;
  • Congratulations are due to three appointments to acting posts sanctioned by the Board: John Maddock as Acting Deputy Principal; Shauna O’Toole as Acting API; Alicia Devlin Byrne as Acting APII;
  • Danny will represent the Board (virtually) at the presentation to mark Donal Evoy’s last day at the school on Friday 23 April – the Board will present a plaque made of Dublin Crystal and other presentations will be made by students, parents/guardians and staff.

Tuesday 16 March 2021 

  • The chess competition was very popular. Students were motivated by it and are now requesting a chess club at lunch times and a chess league during the year;
  • The Student Council are helping develop the school journal for next year by creating a proof reading wheel to help students learn to edit their work better before handing it in to teachers;
  • ETSS Wicklow Deputy-Principal, will be leaving ETSS Wicklow to take up the position of principal at the new school in Dublin – a new Deputy Principal will be appointed in due course;
  • A number of theme weeks (anti-bullying week, cyber-safety, Seachtain na Gaeilge) have been run successfully during the online school. The Board thanked all the teachers for their hard work in developing the activities for these weeks;
  • The School Self-Evaluation (SSE) will take place in the months ahead – staff will decide the focus in April;
  • The Easter assessments emphasis will be on oral examinations (students will take oral exams in 7 core subjects + some options) – teachers hope students will enjoy this new experience of assessment and that talking about their learning will help consolidate all the work this term;
  • The revised Code of Behaviour has ratified by the Board and everyone thanked for their work in conducting this revision.  The Student Council will create an audio version and the Advisory Board will develop a simple summary version for school life;
  • The staff has been engaged in policy development for the past months and the Board agreed that three policy proposals can be forwarded to the Board for each of the next four months for the Board’s review;
  • The motions for the Educate Together AGM will be discussed by the Board at the next meeting – the Board needs to decide how to vote on each motion and nominate a member of the Board to attend the AGM to cast the votes.
  • The Finance Sub-Committee reported that the budget for 2021/2022 is being worked on at present and will be presented to the Board in May.

Tuesday 23 February 2021 

  • The Student Council informed the Board that students are grateful to have online learning so that they can continue working during the school closure; 
  • The Student Council has decided the class names for next year, which will be ‘Hyde’ and ‘Pearse’;
  • The Student Council is also applying to the Wicklow County Council for a water fountain at the school (Shauna is helping out with this application);
  • Staff are working on a digital strategy vision at present and attended a training session with the PDST recently;
  • An innovation at Easter will be a set of oral assessments for every subject – the idea is that every student can talk about their learning in every subject;
  • Amanda and Shauna have put together a new booklet of key words to improve access to the curriculum for every student – next year’s first years will receive an electronic copy of this booklet on their very first day in the school and teachers will go through the vocabulary with them before their programmes begin;
  • The Student Council is developing a proof-reading wheel for next year’s School Journal and all teachers are encouraged to allow time for students to edit their work before submitting it for correction;
  • The Board thanked the PSA for organising a debating event against the second years recently on the topic of ‘Covid-19 is a hoax’ – a great performance by the second-year debaters, but a win for the PSA this time! We hope to make this a yearly event;
  • The Board reviewed the Code of Behaviour and a number of improvements have been suggested – a new version will be created for review at next month’s meeting.

Thursday 14 January 2021

  • The Board of Management had a lot of things to discuss at this meeting and in the first item on the agenda, the students reported that there are positive and negative aspects to learning online – positive points are not having to wear masks and getting more free time because of the built-in screen breaks. Negative points are not being able to socialise with friends during break times and trying to be self-motivated.  
  • The Advisory Board continues having an influential role in teaching and learning at ETSS Wicklow. Peer observation week will take place online (the focus will be on broadening teacher experience of virtual classrooms, learning more about the benefits of various apps in use by other teachers during this school closure and sharing knowledge about educational software). A big objective at present is on learning more about working off-screen activities into online teaching methodologies.
  • The Finance Sub-Committee attended a training session with the FSSU in December and shared the learning points from that afternoon with the Board. The official accounts for the year have now been submitted to the FSSU.
  • We are in a school closure at present for January and waiting word for news about the reopening date - we had an online training day in November anticipating this closure might happen, so all teachers and students took place in a simulation which ran our timetable throughout the day and fine-tuned the online learning plan through feedback from all parties. We are now running a full timetable for each class every day. We have developed models for an online ASD class, SNA support, a detention system, a system for tracking and working with students who are not engaging and lots of other supports like a homework club and wellbeing initiatives such as assemblies. The programme will be reviewed regularly and the wellbeing of students and staff taken into account – the Board recorded its full support for the work being done and is prepared to help out in any way requested as we negotiate this new challenge.

Wednesday 09 December 2020 (Continued on Tuesday 15 December)

  • The newly invented subject Pegasus has become very popular at ETSS Wicklow – it's a subject where students choose what to study. They develop projects from any subject or combination of subjects that they are studying and put together an action plan to complete each project in one school term. The Board is very interested in how this subject is developing and is impressed by the initiative and creativity it is unleashing. The Board has asked for more information next month about the types of projects that have been developed and wants to support the growth of this innovative subject;
  • The Advisory Board of Studies continues to make a huge difference to teaching and learning at ETSS Wicklow – recently a literacy and numeracy plan was launched which was developed from the results of the school self-evaluation from last year – the second peer observation week will take place in January and a full set of oral exams for every subject will be the assessment mode for Easter;
  • The Strategic Development Committee Report shows lots to be excited about next year – in the summer, the second phase of the development of the temporary accommodation will take place and meanwhile, the DES are in negotiations with landowners regarding the purchase of a site for the new school – we hope for good news on this front in 2021 – everyone is completely committed to working with the DES, Educate Together and local and national politicians to bring these projects forward;
  • The Board approved the accounts for the year – thanks to our school secretary Fran, the Finance Sub Committee and the accountants, DMQ Accountants Limited, for all the hard work to meet the end of year deadline;
  • Educate Together has set three strategic goals for the years ahead: (a) Quality & Capacity; (b) Leadership; (c) Growth – ETSS Board members are invited to make submissions to Educate Together as to how to succeed in these goals in the years ahead;
  • As we reach the end of the year, the Board expresses its sincere thanks to all staff for handing the Covid-19 Response in all its elements since March and for putting in so many extra hours to introduce and supervise new measures that have ensured the safety of everyone at the school.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

  • The student council reported that Science Week is in progress with lots of activities, live demonstrations and a school quiz – the flags will be raised tomorrow to celebrate World Science Day for Peace & Development
  • Students are asking for woodwork equipment to help develop the new subject ‘Pegasus’ at school. They will return with a more concrete proposal next month.
  • The Advisory Board of Studies has been promoting a whole school plan for literacy and numeracy development involving elements such as proof-reading wheels, vocabulary posters, linking mathematics to the content across a range of subjects, built in editing time for writing tasks in every subject, reading of articles of interest to every subject – this is a really great initiative designed to improve and develop learning in the year ahead;
  • A comprehensive policy development plan will begin again this year as we take up from where we left off last year – the objective will be to involve everyone in the school community in developing twelve interim policies into permanent ones – staff, students, parents and the Board will all have key roles in making this happen;
  • Our first year is over and it’s time to be taken to account – our school accountants will meet the Board at the next meeting to talk through the accounts for the year and to discuss all aspects of finances;
  • The Board agreed that the PSA can have access to the official school Facebook page and publish content in relation to all the events planned for this year - our very innovative PSA have created an exciting programme of activities for the year despite the constraints of the Covid-19 era.

Tuesday 06 October 2020

  • The Student Council representatives reported to the Board that the Adventure Days with biking, hiking and beach games were a great success and helped raise spirits. Diversity Week was appreciated by the students because it helped everyone understand that everyone is unique with different abilities and Languages Week placed an emphasis on listening to music from different countries and learning how to say hello in many languages. 
  • Advisory Board of Studies is in the process of selecting literacy objectives for the year as part of a school self-evaluation process which has involved parents, students and staff – the idea is to promote a whole school effort to implement those objectives across the subjects and to develop a strong literacy focus. 
  • The Board reviewed and approved the Child Safety Statement, the Child Protection Policy and the Anti-Bullying Policy and also approved a Lone Worker Policy. All of these policies will be published on the website. 
  • The school is benefitting from a lot of extra supervision this year as part of the Covid-19 package and the Covid-19 Response Plan in general is working very well so far. The Board expressed its support for further initiatives like the Adventure Days to lift the spirits of students this year – this message will be passed on to the wellbeing committee. 
  • The Strategic Accommodation Committee are working hard to develop contacts politically and open good channels of communication with the Department of Education and Skills, as the next phases of this great project in building a school involves summer works next year and also a building project for a new school once the site has been acquired. 
  • The school is looking to Instagram as a new form of communication that can help profile the amazing work being done by the students. A group will be set up where work can be displayed and shared within the school community. 

Thursday 10 September 2020

  • The new Student Council attended as guests for the first part of the meeting and informed the Board that their first task was to organise elections for Student President in the next week. 
  • The Advisory Board will invite Student Council members to join this year. 
  • We’re going to organise photos this term for historical reasons – we’ve cancelled a photographer session twice because of Covid-19, but the Board feels we should go ahead at this stage with Covid-19 likely to be a feature of life for some time to come. 
  • The Finance Sub-Committee reported that we have finished our first full financial year and that our accountants are now preparing the accounts for this year – these should be ready in November. 
  • The Strategic Development Committee met with a lot of local politicians recently to raise the profile of our new school project – the Board asked the Strategic Development Committee to prepare a statement for parents about the plans for the future which can be presented to the Parents Council in due course. 
  • An extensive policy development programme is in place again this year and will start from the next meeting. 
  • The Board ratified a statement of the needs and priorities of the school in relation to posts of responsibilities which may arise in the future. 
  • PE classes this year will take place in Rathnew FC – this is a really positive development for the school. 
  • The Board thanked all staff for their help in implementing the Covid-19 Response Plan. This is the first-time schools in the country have faced this level of threat form a pandemic and the school has responded with numerous changes and initiatives designed to create the most secure environment possible. The goals are to reduce the threat of infection as much as possible and if infection finds its way here, to reduce the impact as much as possible. We will continue working at this week by week, step by step until the arrives that we receive news of advances in medicine that end the pandemic.

Thursday 20 August 2020

  • The school ratified the appointment of a Lead Worker Representative to manage the Covid-19 planning and a comprehensive Covid-19 Response Plan which you can find at this link.
  • A practical application document has also been drawn up to assist implementation and is included as a one page summary at the start of the plan
  • Extensive training programme for parents, students and staff will take place prior to the school year starting
  • Everyone connected with the school will take a pre-return to school survey to ensure safe conditions on the reopening day
  • Visitors to the school will be kept to an absolute minimum and only with prior approval.
  • The Board expressed its full support to everyone in the school community for any initiatives needed to ensure a more secure and safer environment in the work place for the school reopening and in the weeks and months ahead

Thursday 7 May 2020

  • Online school has been going extremely well with engagement at the highest levels and live classes meaning students at ETSSW have not missed a day of school since the closure. 
  • Students reported that they were able to stay up with learning and that they particularly enjoyed the transition day when primary school students joining us next year attended classes for a day. 
  • ETSSW teachers have prepared a book on Team-Teaching – full of different styles and concepts and practical tips to get the most from this innovative way of teaching in Irish schools – the Board was pleased to adapt this book as official policy for the school and thanked the teachers who created it for their dedication to developing teaching and learning at ETSSW. 
  • Other great initiatives were the Global Issues Theme Week and the present project developing a recipe book. 
  • The Strategic Development Committee is now in place and will meet soon to set the agenda. 
  • A number of policies were ratified and will be published on our website: (a) Ethical Education Policy; (2) Vetting Policy; (3) Health & Safety Policy; (4) ICT Policy;     (5) SEN Policy. These will be published on this website. 
  • Recruitment will be ongoing over the next few weeks as we plan towards next year. 
  • The Board extends its deep gratitude to everyone in the school community for continuing on with the work of the school – the level of innovation and dedication is an inspiration to all. 

Thursday 2 April 2020

  • The Board of Management held a virtual meeting on Thursday 2 April;
  • In the circumstances, it was agreed to work through essential business only - the first item of essential business was to compose a letter of thanks to the entire school community for the amazing innovation shown in continuing learning during this time - the Board was particularly pleased that real-time classes continued as normal every day in core subjects through Microsoft Teams conferencing and that so many tutorial videos were being prepared to guide students through blocks of learning. The Board thanked all members of the school community for supporting this work and students for engaging so well in online learning; 
  • A number of new policies were passed – a new Admission Policy for 2020-2021 (to be published in the near future); an Assessment Policy; an Attendance Policy and a Social Media Policy;
  • Interview panels were agreed for a number of upcoming job opportunities – advertisements will be posted in the very near future;
  • The Board of Management will keep everyone informed about any new developments for schools re. Covid-19;
  • The Board expressed the hope that everyone would find time to relax during the Easter break, stay safe and continue to follow the Government guidelines. 

Tuesday 10 March 2020

  • The students reported lots of positive events happening in school life – picnic benches and gardening equipment donated through parents, fleeces for students arriving in the not to distant future and a sponsored cycle which will hopefully lead to a defibrillator arriving at the school;
  • The Advisory Board of Studies is central to the development of teaching and learning at the school through promoting Model United Nations, peer observation, presenting model class plans to the JCT for their national seminars, working on new assessment approaches such as an ‘oral assessments’ only innovation at Easter and taking an innovative approach to the set up in the classroom itself by creating a multi-board room meaning goodbye to the ‘the back of the class’;
  • Lots of new developments in process at the moment such as a Tuck Shop, a Herb Garden, a Strategic Development Committee to focus on bringing this new school project forward and the appointment of a Board Safety Representative to watch over health and safety at the school and work with everyone to create the best environment possible at ETSS Wicklow;
  • Staff have put a plan in place to address the present threat of Covid-19 which includes awareness and hygiene measures and also the development of an emergency online learning programme which will activate in the event of a national school closure. 

Monday 10 February 2020

  • The meeting started with a positive initiative of the Students’ Council, PSA and Board members meeting for the first time and having a general discussion about school life;
  • The students have a lot of great plans such as creating a herb garden and buying personalised jumpers – the Board welcomed these initiatives and will support the students’ council in every way;
  • The parents are creating a constitution and getting involved in a lot of school events. The Board thanked everyone for their great contributions to school life and discussed ideas to further build on this work, such as getting involved in the policy development programme in process at present;
  • The Board sanctioned the candidates chosen by selection committees in recent interviews for the roles of APII and SNA – the Board wishes both staff members the very best in their new roles;
  • The Board reviewed the Draft Child Safety Statement, Draft Child Protection Policy, Draft Anti-Bullying Policy, Draft Code of Behaviour which will all be passed on now to parents and students for their feedback before returning to the Board for final ratification. 

Tuesday 14 January 2020

  • The school has introduced a lot of new subjects after Christmas which are proving popular with the students (Philosophy, Gardening, Guitar, Speech & Drama, Model United Nations). The Board thanked the teachers for these great innovations to the curriculum;
  • There will be a lot of policy development in the months ahead as the staff continue working to turn interim policies into permanent ones;
  • The school will be advertising for a new SNA in the next few days, so we will be looking to welcome a new member to the team in the weeks ahead;
  • The Advisory Board of Studies has become one of the key innovations in the school, leading the way with pedagogical development in many areas: team-teaching, Model United Nations, JCT training, peer observation, curriculum development and visual inspiration in the school. The Board sincerely appreciates every initiative and will support this work in every way possible;
  • The temporary accommodation is now fully functional and it is time to form a Strategic Development Committee to start looking at the longer goal of a permanent school. The objective of the committee will be to advance the permanent school project in every way possible;
  • Good news for next year – we have almost a full group of students signed up already;
  • A big debate in the weeks ahead will be whether we should introduce a screen-free break-time rule. Lots of different views on this, so let’s gather the collective wisdom from everyone and make the right decision;
  • The Board wishes everyone in our school community a happy and successful 2020.  

Tuesday 10 December 2019

  • Following up on a question about the cost of keypads for iPads, Wriggle had quoted us at around €80 for the 9.7 inch iPads and and €120 for the 10.2 inch iPads; 
  • There was very good news about the shoe box appeal with 22 boxes submitted. These will be distributed over Christmas to people in need;
  • The Student Council has chosen the names for next year's class groups - the theme will be science and the names of the class groups will be Darwin, Curie and Edison;
  • Good news from the school building project manager was that we will be receiving a caretaker's room and a play area - probably next summer;
  • The Board outlined that there will be a lot of work in policy development in the months ahead as interim policies are converted into permanent ones through a process of consultation with all school partners;
  • The school development plan is in full swing – the Board approved the final Mission Statement as ‘We are a school where students grow in diversity and democracy, as independent thinkers and lifelong learners, as citizens promoting dignity and fairness for all’, a wording designed to be simple and accessible while also catching all the important concepts from Vision Evening earlier in the term;
  • The Advisory Board of Studies reported a big emphasis on developing team-teaching in the school at the moment, a process which has involved staff-led training initiatives and an invitation to the Professional Development Services for Teachers [PDST], external trainers, to visit the school in January, inspect our team-teaching approaches and set targets for areas of development for the rest of the year.

Tuesday 5 November 2019

  • The Board thanked the Student Council for its proactive work in organising a sponsored walk that raised funds to purchase two table-tennis tables;
  • Our Vision Evening event was successful and led to a lot of concrete work on the mission statement of the school – a proposal for ETSSW Mission Statement will be presented to the Board at the next meeting;
  • Our Admissions and Transfer Policy for 2020 was approved and the admissions process is presently open;
  • Board members have a training opportunity on Saturday 30 November at the Carlton Hotel, Blanchardstown;
  • The Board requested that the Advisory Board of Studies give a report of their activities at every Board meeting - the Board of Management supports the development of teaching and learning and sees the Advisory Board of Studies as a really important vehicle empowering teachers and students to be at the centre of this process. At the next meeting, the Advisory Board will report on the development of team-teaching;
  • Good news from the DES about the new school: they are in talks with a landowner - more information expected on how this progresses over the following months. 

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