In 2010-2011, WETNS participated in a pilot of the Educate Together Ethos Self-evaluation tool. WETNS was supported in the process by the then Ethos Officer of Educate Together, Molly O’Duffy. Members of the school community could complete surveys electronically using Survey Monkey or by hand. A number of parents volunteered to input data to Survey Monkey, which was then used to analyse the data. Molly O’Duffy and Fionnuala Ward facilitated the focus groups, as neutral individuals. Findings were produced for the use of the school community only, and lead to the development of key points for improvement which have been included in school planning for 2011-2012.

This process included

  • Completion of surveys by parents, staff and the Board of Management
  • Participation in child-centred focus groups by the children
  • Focus groups for parents, staff and Board of Management.

Thanks to all Parents, Staff, Board of Management and children who took part in the Ethos Self-Evaluation.

It was a very worthwhile exercise as the whole school community had an opportunity to voice their opinions on how they experience the Lived Educate Together Ethos in WETNS.

Summary of findings

Positives from the feedback were as follows:

The unanimous experience of parents, staff, management and children of WETNS is of an environment that is “Fun, Fair and Friendly”. The overall atmosphere was found to be supportive, warm, positive, inclusive and welcoming.

The school is not only academically driven but nurtures the child’s other skills and abilities and makes every effort to develop the potential of all children, including the more able.

Individual opinions are not forced on others and children are taught about rights, feelings and responsibilities. Children enjoy not having to wear a uniform and love the weekly assemblies. Certificates are given for trying and not just for excellent work.

Individuality is valued and children are encouraged to question decisions made by adults.

Children are happy, and can develop friendships.

There is a good sense of community and support and children have a tremendous sense of fairness.

The School structure is very accessible to parents with open and approachable staff.

Demographic of the school is a good mix and a real cross section of society.

Key Areas for improvement – to be included in School Planning, 2011-2012

  • There is a need to improve communication between parents and classroom teachers.
  • Parents, staff and Board of Management need reassurance that signs of bullying are picked up early, addressed appropriately and consistently.
  • Identity of the Board of Management to be made more available to the school community.
  • More information on the Ethical Curriculum Topics to be circulated so that parents can support the work done in school. Information was requested by parents about how religions are presented in class.
  • A Notice board or suggestion box for parents is to be provided in the school building.
  • The Yard and toilets need improving. Fences made higher and surfaces improved.
  • The Student Council would like more say in activities.
  • More after-school activities would be welcomed by all.