Board of Management Report to the School Community School Year 2018-2019
Introduction The Annual Report provides a summary of information on the operation of Wicklow Educate Together National School in line with the requirements of the Education Act. The report serves as an addition to the information provided on the school website wicklowetns.com, the fortnightly newsletters issued by the school, Information booklet provided to all parents of new junior infants, the staff handbook and all information provided to parents and staff during the school year. The report sets out to reflect on the work of the past school year 2018-2019 and looks ahead to the new school year 2019/2020 in Wicklow Educate Together NS. Please see School Self Evaluation Report, also attached.
Board of Management The Board of Management was formed in December 2015. This board will serve a four-year term. The Board’s main function is to manage the school on behalf of the patron and for the benefit of the students and to provide an appropriate education for each student at the school. The Board is accountable to the patron (Educate Together) and the Minister for Education and Skills.
Robert Greene Chairperson
Sinead Watson Principal
Michelle Adebesi Patron Nominee
Koryne Smyth Parent Nominee, Premises
Graham Byrne Parent Nominee, Information Technology
Eamonn O’Hanrahan Teacher Nominee, Secretary
Brian Fitzsimmons Community Nominee, Treasurer
Anthony O’Rourke Community Nominee
School Ethos The school is founded on a caring, nurturing experience, with a child centred focus, and is equality based, coeducational & democratically run. It has found expression this year in
• Student Council
• Regular school assemblies
• Achievement Awards celebrating our pupil successes & progress
• Culture Week
• Forest School
• Learn Together-Ethics & the Environment, Moral & Spiritual, Equality & Justice and Belief Systems
• Aistear Infant classes continue to engage in Aistear, where curriculum objectives are fulfilled through structured play in a stimulating and motivating environment.
Pupils The current pupil enrolment number in Wicklow ETNS is 406. 238 boys and 168 girls
There are 295 families. 20% of our families have English as their 2nd language.
Our families come from Wicklow town, surrounding environs, serving a wide catchment area. The school is served by 4 Bus Eireann bus routes currently.
Staffing In 2018/19 we had a Principal, Sinead Watson and Deputy Principal Mary Dee along with promoted post holders Assistant Principal 1 Adele Kelly & Assistant Principal 2 post holders Paula Ryan/Sally Burnham, Eileen Power & Eamonn O’Hanrahan who made up the middle management structure of the school. We had sixteen classroom teachers. We had twelve support teachers and three classes for children with a diagnosis of autism. There are currently fourteen Special Needs Assistants [SNAs] employed by the school. Staffing for 2019/2020 will remain the same with a small reduction in SNA & support teacher provision. The school will appoint a new Assistant Principal 2 position in line with the number of teachers in the school before the end of this academic year.
School administration is supported by school secretary, Fran Ui Dhubhshlaine along with facilities manager Lisa Jervis. We also employ a part-time caretaker Billy Rafter.
Additional Needs of students are supported in each classroom by differentiated learning, our support teachers and SNA staff. We have three classes for children with additional needs.
The following school polices were reviewed/approved since September 2018
✓ Child Safeguarding Statement
✓ Data Protection Policy
✓ Induction Policy for Teachers
✓ Assistive Technology
✓ Enrolment (Admissions policy)
✓ Administration of Medication
✓ Staff Absences
✓ Career Break & Job Share
✓ Statement of function & purpose of the aftercare facility
The Care Team has reviewed and redrafted the Code of Behaviour, this will be circulated to all staff, students and parents in September 2019 for feedback. There will also be consultation regarding student mobile phone usage in the 2019/2020 school year
Admissions policy – This will be reviewed in line with the new admissions bill, the new policy will take effect from 2024.
ICT We have engaged the services of an external provider to help maintain and develop the opportunities for using ICT to support teaching and learning in the classroom.
Pupil progress and development was supported & monitored as follows
- Teacher to teacher formal hand over at the end of previous school year & at the beginning of this school year
- Class welcome meetings in September
- Parent teacher meetings in November
- Requested meetings by teacher/parent
- Staged process of referral for additional needs
- NEPS Psychologist
- Assessment of Need [HSE]
- Behaviour plans
- End of year reports
- Reporting of standardised test results to parents, DES, BOM, post primary schools
- Introduction meeting and information pack for parents of junior infants and new pupils in other classes & introduction visit for new pupils to WETNS
- Teacher observation, Teacher designed tasks and tests, Work samples, portfolios & projects, Checklists. WETNS is mindful of the importance of assessment for learning as well as assessment of learning. Child Protection The Board is satisfied that the School Child Protection Policy is working effectively. Updated reports are presented to each Board meeting. The Designated Liaison Person maintains contact with Túsla, the Child Protection Agency.
- Attendance and Punctuality The Board of Management receives regular updates on school attendance and punctuality. The Board is satisfied that the school is compliant with mandatory reporting of pupils who miss more than twenty school days. There are a high number of students who miss 20 days or more, of the school year. The School Attendance Strategy is being implemented and school attendance will continue to be monitored & reviewed. In February 2019 all families received correspondence highlighting ongoing issues regarding both attendance and punctuality for a cohort of our student population. The Board of Management is pleased to report that there has been a slight improvement in overall attendance as we approach year end. Since formal recording of pupils arriving late began in February 2019 120 pupils arrived late to school. The Board finds this to be unacceptable. Parents can monitor their own child’s attendance and punctuality record. End of year school reports record overall attendance and punctuality of each child. From September 2019 teachers will record when students are collected early from school, as this is a trend that is noted as impacting on student learning.
- Premises [School Building and Grounds] The school continues to work with DES and contractors to complete outstanding snagging issues and the Department of Education and Skills has put out to tender ongoing issues with ball courts, roof leaks, hot water boiler and the heating system.
- Notice boards were painted on to the wall areas in communal and corridor spaces for the display of student work and art throughout the school
- The Department of Education and Skills provided funding for the purchase of new, safety standard furniture throughout the school
- The Percent for Art Project was commissioned, with the work on the beautiful outdoor classroom due for completion June 2019
Work on appointing external contactors is ongoing, these contractors are appointed following a tendering process. The school building and its grounds requires a number of these maintenance contracts, and it is a very costly overall expense that the school has to pay.
- School Finances The financial management of our school is conducted in compliance with Department of Education and Skills requirements. The Board of Management’s prepares a regular statement of income and expenditure ahead of each Board meeting.
- The school accounts are audited in accordance with the Education Act annually. The school identified that non-payment of sundries was having a serious impact on school funds, this has been improved and we anticipate further improvement next year.
- This is the first year where our school has been running as a “full school” so our finances should begin to settle, as it is clear what our annual income and expenditure is. As well as DES grants the school was successful in receiving an Integration Grant for culture week in February. Voluntary contributions have increased significantly since last year. Cost of utilities has also reduced. Rental and after school activities is providing increased income. The school currently is
rented regularly by Wicklow Choral Society, Rugbytots and Progressive College of Education Additionally Wicklow Brownies and The Blood Transfusion Service occasional hire
Easy Payments has been selected as the provider of the collections and administration of all afterschool activities. Once bedded down this will become the means through which parents will pay for all school expenses.
See attached the financial report of the last three years. We are pleased to report that whilst we were in deficit, our finances have now turned around, due to increased revenue from ECA, PTA fundraising and careful cost management.
Extra-Curricular Activities Staff and outside facilitators now offer a broad range of extra-curricular activities to our pupils. The Board recognises that extra-curricular activities compliment in-school learning activities and provide further opportunities for pupils to explore their talents and develop holistically. On offer this year were Science Multisports, Soccer Yoga Sewing Cookery Athletics Drama Art Chess and Irish Dancing
Aftercare now incorporates aftercare 1.30-2.30, homework club and aftercare until 5.30pm under the one umbrella from September 2019 this will extend to 6pm.
We thank all after-school facilitators & staff and facilities Manager Lisa for their work during the year
Public Service Agreement Under the terms of the Haddington Road Agreement, teachers and special needs assistants completed a schedule of additional work which included the following;
School resource development- classroom and school preparation -school planning – continuous professional development – induction – policy development – staff meetings – nationally planned in-service – school arranged in-service
- Student Council Our student council was elected in September 2018. The student council has the following aims and objectives:
• to allow students play an active and positive role in matters of school life;
• to provide effective communication between Staff, Students and Parents;
• to empower students and give them a sense of responsibility;
• to foster a sense of respect and a positive attitude among students.
Reflecting on School Activities and Achievements this year The Board is indebted to the teaching staff, who, with the help of support staff, parents & external providers created so many additional learning opportunities and enjoyable events during the school year. The school has received a Discover Primary Science & Maths Award and a Digital School’s of Distinction Award This year the learning of the pupils of the school was augmented and built on in the following ways –
- Out of school trips local trails, other schools, day care for the elderly and end of year school trips
- Visitors and workshops book shop readings library reading dog,
- In-school events book day, culture week, active month, Halloween dress up, internet safety day
- Celebration of ethos buddy reading, assemblies [achievements, communication of important information, birthdays, individual class presentations] Christmas concert, fundraising for charity, international food day
- Sports opportunities GAA skills, swimming, rugby, cricket, active month, sports day, competition level-athletics & soccer, bike to school, extra-curricular activities
- Arts opportunities write a book project, fighting words, 6th class graduation, concert, extra-curricular activities
- Language opportunities-culture week
- Science opportunities gardening, science days, young scientist, forest school
- Community Links sport competitions- soccer, GAA, climbing, basketball and athletics. Wicklow Day care for the elderly, student council supported charity
- Parent Teacher Association The Board of Management wishes to thank the outoing committee of the Parent Teacher Association for their work during the course of the year. The Association, whose efforts stretch far beyond fundraising, organise many events and celebrations which greatly enhance the school life for our pupils and enable parents play an active and supportive role in their children’s school experience. The PTA committee met on a regular basis, and the Chairperson met with the Principal regularly. A new committee has now been formed following the AGM. The Board would like to formally thank the Strictly Dance Committee and all of their supporters in the execution of an amazing school event and in generating funding for the school
Some of the Parent Association activities this year included:
• Halloween dress up & bake sale
• Bake Sales & Coffee Morning
• School Calendar
• Makers Festival
• Organisation of hospitality for school events
• Bike to School
• Teddy Bears Picnic
• St Patricks Day Parade [Subcommittee]
• Strictly Dance [Subcommittee]
• Bag Pack
Teaching Experience & Transition Year Student Support This year, our school has again been in a position to host third and second-level students. As part of our co-operation with Colleges of Education, we facilitated student teachers for their teaching practice modules. We also facilitated transition year pupils from local second level schools. We also welcomed many work placement students preparing for employment as childcare workers & SNAs. We thank the students for their efforts and we hope we have been able to give some focus on working in education as a fruitful and rewarding career choice.
School Communication The Board acknowledges school efforts to encourage and support parental involvement and communication with the school. Information meetings were organised for each class in September and formal parent teacher meetings were held in November. Parents were facilitated in meeting teachers by appointment at other times during the year. The Aladdin Parent Portal has also been rolled out to enhance school home communication. See our full communication guide here http://wicklowetns.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Wicklow-Educate-Together-National-School-Communications-Guide.pdf
School newsletters were distributed to parents every fortnight, and uploaded to the school website, and sent by link to parents via text
Graduation Class 2019 Congratulations to 6th class 2019, the students will make their very special transition to their secondary schools. Those schools are Wicklow Educate Together Secondary School, Colaiste Chill Mhantain, North Wicklow Educate Together Secondary School, East Glendalough School, Dominican College, Avondale Community School. We thank all fifty students and their families for enriching our school during the past eight years, and we wish them all the very best in the months and years ahead as they began the next chapter of their learning lives. A special thanks to the parents of some students who brought to an end their close affiliation with Wicklow ETNS. The Board wishes to congratulate all students, parents and staff, and to acknowledge the significant contributions all have made during 2018/2019. We look forward to a bright new schoolyear in August 2019 after a well-earned break. The next annual BoM report to the school community will issue in June 2020.