United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough



Diocesan Board of Education Welcomes New Minister but Urges Action on Teacher Morale

The appointment of Deputy Jan O’Sullivan as Minister for Education and Skills has been welcomed by the Dublin and Glendalough Board of Education. Speaking to propose the board’s report at Diocesan Synod earlier this week, John Aiken, Deputy Head of the King’s Hospital, said he hoped Minister O’Sullivan would have a better grasp of the issues facing Protestant schools than her predecessors.

John Aiken
John Aiken

Mr Aiken said the Minister’s presence at the General Synod Board of Education’s conference for second level schools last month and at the start of year service afterwards in St Patrick’s Cathedral gave hope as did her statement on the importance of Protestant education.

Those who set up Temple Carrig School in Greystones were praised and congratulated on the early appointment of an RE teacher. Mr Aiken thanked the previous Minister for Education and those in the Department of Finance for their contribution to the project.

He welcomed the modest increase in the Block Grant and thanked David Wynne for his work in this regard.

However, Mr Aiken said that the cuts and pupil teacher ratios would not be restored. He referred to the Minister’s statement that the quality of teachers would have a greater impact on children’s education than anything else. So her urged that the morale of teachers be looked at urgently.

He added that there was an underlying presumption that Protestant schools were better placed than others to take cuts. Disputing this, he stated that parents in fee–paying schools were no better placed to make up for government shortfalls that others.

David Wynne (Councils) said that the demand for the SEC Block Grant this year was €7 million. He said they were grateful for the extra money but added it had not gone far enough. He hoped there would be further increases over the coming years.

David Norris
David Norris

The Revd Niall Sloane (Killiney, Holy Trinity), mentioned the Diocesan Service for Primary and Junior Schools and drew members of Synods attention to to three other ministries to children – the Children’s Ministry Officer the Revd Baden Stanley, the Annual Building Blocks Conference and the Minstry to Youth.

Senator David Norris (St Patrick’s Cathedral) told Synods that politicians needed to be briefed about issues of concern. Quoting Albert Reynolds he stated the brief should be “one page with a telephone number”.

The Revd Scott Peoples (Leixlip and Lucan) highlighted the building of their new primary school following a long campaign. He paid tribute to all involve in helping the parish reach their goal.

Peter McCrodden (St Ann’s and Principal of St Andrew’s NS in Bray) spoke of the new model of supports for children with special educational needs. He said schools needed to be aware of the Department’s proposals and realise that they could be worse off. He also encouraged schools to get involved with the Droichead Scheme for schools.

The Revd Norman Gamble (Malahide) paid tribute to Trevor Richmond who retired as Principal of St Andrew’s, Malahide, after 42 years in the post. He praised his dedication to the job and paid tribute to all teachers at primary level and urged that they be encouraged and supported in these difficult times.

Photos: John Aiken and Senator David Norris.

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