Parents’ Association – Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí
Chairperson’s Report 18th October 2016 for 2016 AGM
The Parents’ Association in Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí is now in its 4th year, and the present committee in place since March 2016. We continue to work with the objectives as outlined in our constitution – which are:
1. To enhance the school experience for families by facilitating communication among parents, students, the School, the Board of Management, and the broader community
2. The fostering of good relations between parents, teachers, students and the school authorities.
The Education Act 1988 sets out the role of the PA – to work in partnership with the school. Partnership between home and school ensures better outcomes for our children – research shows that students achieve better results when parents and teachers work together.
Work undertaken since March 2016 built on achievements in previous years. Obviously, since the AGM was quite close to the final term and a time when the school began to focus on preparing for house and state examinations, we did not hold any large events.
We had one committee meeting prior to the summer in April and reconvened in mid-September for the first meeting of the new academic year. Some of us attended an inspiring event organised by Michael Collins TD with key speaker Sinead McKee of the ISPCC on 30th August. Tonight, we’re fortunate to have Don Davis, Youth Officer, An Garda Síochána, with us. We’ve also asked a sub-committee to work on ideas for a talk to be held on 22nd November (so please put that date in your diary). This plan is coming together nicely and the general focus for this event will be on minding our children’s mental health with expert speakers attending on the night.
I’d like to mention that the PA does not have a fundraising role. However, we have to generate funds for expenses – insurance, refreshments, texts – as Anne will outline to you shortly. We ask for a voluntary contribution of €10 per family to cover these expenses.
To fulfill our objectives as a PA, and in addition to committee meetings, PA representatives also meet with the school management as necessary to discuss issues of concern or interest to parents. We don’t always agree on issues but we do agree that the meetings were beneficial to all. I think it’s fair to say that the PA feels it is a valued and effective partner in the school community.
Some of the events and activities organised by the PA during the past 3 years included: Drugs & Alcohol seminar, Information evening on Parenting Skills and Bullying and Cyber bullying. We have also reviewed school policies, organised school uniform recycling, upgraded the school website, developed a ‘Schoolbag Weight Guide’, a ‘Parent Guide to Bullying’, compiled Drugs & Alcohol information and prepared a Handy Hints Guide – all of which are available on the School website.
Traditionally, we help out with refreshments at various events (the Awards Night, the Enrollment evening, the TY and 3rd year information nights and the Graduation Night). This provides us with the opportunity to support the school and also provides considerable savings to the school. In the past, we have also been involved in the Enrollment Night (telling people about the work of the PA and the benefits of being involved) and we also bring along information. We have a parent representative on the Health Promoting Committee, were consulted on the school library’s development, provided talks to 1st year and TY students on Drugs and Alcohol. We also keep an eye out for what other PA’s are doing in other second level schools to gather ideas and also what is happening with the National Parents Council (we’re not members) and elsewhere.
Finally, the committee continues to work hard to increase involvement of parents in the knowledge that being involved- by shaping the agenda and sharing expertise is to the benefit of our children, parents and the school community generally. We welcome all ideas to make sure our PA is as good as it can be.
Those of us involved in the committee agree that we feel more connected to and informed in relation to the activities of the school. I want to ask you all to get involved with the PA – go on the committee, volunteer for jobs and share the load, use the website, attend and support PA events.
Rita Kearney (Outgoing Chairperson)
18th October, 2016.