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Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
26/01/2013 21:53 - Education Cutbacks
In 2010, I had gave the Board € 9,000 from the Parents Association as I was the treasurer at the time and I asked them to kindly give an account of what this money was spent on. They decline to do so, although they alleged since that they did. So, I called over to the treasurer house and asked him to please supply a set of the school accounts and give him a copy of the relevant part of the Board of Management guidelines. I didn´t think it was a big issue but thought it could have been resolved informally. Subsequently, I was told I was not to make direct contact with any members of the Board. A previous treasurer, who worked for the Revenue Commissioners had been castigated because as I realised later she had tried to do things in the correct fashion. At the 2011 Parents Association AGM, the treasurer was told by a representative of the National Parent Council that parents were entitled to this information.
I feel we have exhausted this subject, plus its as I have tried to highlight this is only a one dimensional aspect of the Board and School, they are trying to do what they believe is best for the school. Regrettably they are doing this in a patronising manner and whereas in the past, parents didn´t object to this, today I think inappropriate.
What I find also interesting is what I would call the "Lance Armstrong" effect. I have highlighted this situation to the Bishop (have copy of his letter in October ´12 stating that the situation is resolved, which it hasn´t been), I have been onto the Arch Bishop Martin, the Dept. of Education, The School Inspectorate*, Prof. Conway of Mary I, and Junior Minister of Education Joe Sherlock, and to the Minister of Education Rory Quinn ( in fairness to the Minister I believe its his secretary Mr. Ryan who has filtered out my correspondence). None to date has resolved the issues. Lance Armstrong was only able to get away with what he did by the collusion of other people.
I believe there are elements of the way this group work are to do with mistakes due to "group thinking" and you maybe aware of the Milgramm Experiment which shows why good people can end up doing bad things. They know they have done the wrong thing and feel guilty about this, to change now would mean they would have to admit they were wrong in the first place and this would cause embarrassment. But this is only a theory there maybe a more plausible explanation that I haven´t thought off.
Lastly, I will forward the link of this discussion onto the Chairperson of the Board as I think it only fair they get an opportunity to have their say and correct error(s) I have made and/or refute any anything points they believe are wrong.

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
24/01/2013 11:24 - Education Cutbacks
Kincora and Shane thank you for the comments. Kincora I haven´t checked out the NCCA site but I greatly appreciate you letting me know, however do you know what the school plan is then? and surely as a parent of the school should I be allowed to view school policies (bar behaviour which is up on the school website) and shouldn´t the school have policies to deal with bullying etc...
By the way, I am not alone in have issues with this school but just more vocal than others.
Shane, this school or rather the Principal I believe is the exception rather than the rule, in general I got on well with the previous Principal and I know from experience the vast majority of Principals who do excellent work. Therefore it could be easily said the issue is me, as this school is unfortunate enough to have a parent that believe parents should be partners in education and parents should have a say in the way schools are run.

re : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
23/01/2013 10:32 - Education Cutbacks
Have you considered hooking up with the parents nominees on the Board of Management, Ted? You could speak to them about making sure that your feedback reaches its target.
Or do you have a better alternative?

re : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
23/01/2013 18:38 - Education Cutbacks
"Lastly how can we answer questions about subjects when we aren´t privy to the subject curriculum."
The NCCA site has full curricular documents to review/print.

Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
21/01/2013 12:03 - Education Cutbacks (Locality: Cork)
Recently the national schools have been sending self assessment questionnaires. This in my opinion this is a waste of time. Because unfortunately people in general, including myself, are not going to highlight negative criticism of themselves. Therefore any negative criticism most likely will be personalised and ignored. For example that Ted Bradley is always a troublemaker so we can ignore what he says. Its not confidential as the questionnaires are clearly identifiable as to whom they have come from. Lastly how can we answer questions about subjects when we aren´t privy to the subject curriculum. Therefore I would ask the Government to scrap the self assessment system, it asking the police to police themselves and I wouldn’t have any faith in such a system, plus I would be concerned given the futile aspect of this exercise its creating unnecessary workload it is creating for schools.

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
24/01/2013 22:10 - Education Cutbacks
Ted, have you thought about trying a different angle? Maybe instead of a head-on confrontation, you could get some support on your side through the Parents Association or the parents on the BoM, and make some progress on some of these issues?

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
23/01/2013 13:11 - Education Cutbacks
I believe the idea of self assessment especially if it’s not confidential as in this case, is deeply flawed. I don’t feel this is unique to schools but for any organisations that use it.
In the particular case of the local school, the Board are not financially transparent, are not complying with the 1998 Education Act with respect to Parent Entitlements to view School Plan (containing Education Targets) and School Policies, and haven’t, to my knowledge, addressed issues within the school of alleged bullying and racism nor have anti-bullying/anti-racism policies. I have highlighted this to the Board on numerous occasions. I perceive, the School Board as dishonest and abusing their position.
I do understand that running a school is a difficult task and to work with Parents would increase the workload for the Board who are volunteers and the Principal as well as requiring time and patience. I believe the Board & Principal are doing what they perceive the best for the school but this is not necessarily what is best for the children/parents. Plus I have used the word alleged as I cannot determine how valid the rumours of this occurring are, and I am not party to the investigation into this, assuming there was one. However the fact there is no policies in this area is most disconcerting.
Thanks for your feedback.

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
24/01/2013 21:15 - Education Cutbacks
Which policies do you wish to see?Have you asked the school for the specific policies?

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
26/01/2013 20:45 - Education Cutbacks
Sounds like a tough situation Ted. Just in case you weren´t aware of it, there is a specific requirement in the Constitution of Boards and Rules of Procedure 2011, Section 19 (d) (ii) for school accounts to be available for inspection by the school community. Hope this helps.

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
26/01/2013 11:48 - Education Cutbacks
Shane, I have talked and written to the PA, they have written to the school not on by behalf but on the behalf of other Parents who would have concerns. Presently, I don´t know what has been the outcome, if any, to the PA letter. I do know that some Parents are afraid as they believe (incorrrectly in my opinion) that if the highlight their concerns that this will be take out on their children. I have this in writing, I did sent a copy to the Chairperson as I believe he is a good man, and I feel this is a dreadful indictment on the school.
I would very much agree that the schools should have a strong leadership and I don´t have a problem living with the fact that others don´t necessarily agree with my prespective. I do have a problem that if I have concerns for the welfare of children in the area that if I dont take action would imply I am condoning this behaviour or I am ok with this. I would have a real issue when the school is asking for money from the people of the parish they don´t give a proper account of this money, the school is presently fundraising for an unapproved (by dept. or parents) extention they built. If the Parish don´t pay for this it would bankrupt the school, therefore I have contributed to this under protest. Plus I believe, community organisations, as I perceive schools are, been secretive and exclusive are indicating they have something to hide.
I feel the further we explore this school the more rotten its seems, there are also positive aspects to this school. These issues are technical, and don´t affect a signficant number of school children on a daily basis, and from an academic prespective it seem to be an excellent school.

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
28/01/2013 09:42 - Education Cutbacks
To the Chairperson,
I have been discussing my issues with the XXXXX School Board on Here is the link -
I haven’t identified the school. I would greatly appreciate it if you can look at what has been said, and please correct any errors and/or challenge any incorrect assumptions. I can post them on your behalf if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
In hindsight by my trying to coercing you to do something against your will, even if its line with the teachings of the Catholic Church and the 1998 Education Act, perhaps is a form of bullying? If so for this I am truly sorry, as needless to say is not my intention to bully even if it’s the outcome. The debacle over the Christmas Show would also make me wonder what influence the Board is able to exert in the School and would imply to me I am not the only one coercing you to do things against your will.
Yours sincerely,
Ted Bradley

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
25/01/2013 21:33 - Education Cutbacks
Kincora, No I haven´t specified policies I want to see as I don´t need to, the 1998 Education Act outlines that Parents are entitled to view, to be consulted with respect to drawing up Policies and review of same. In ten years the school hasn´t once consulted with the Parents body. However, once I did comment on the Code of Behaviour which is the only Policy available to parents, my comments were based on my perception that as it stood it was teacher orientated rather than child focused, unnecessarily harsh, and didn´t reflect the true compassion that teachers practiced with students in the school. Needless to say the Board of the school didn´t appreciate this and to this end circulated a written reply to all the parents clearly identifying me in the process stating that I had "slagged" of the previous policy. Ironically they altered the Policy and incorporated all the comments I had made and this is what is most important. I can send you a copy of what was said and their written response. It would be better for you to judge this yourself. You can contact me via - this website is for information for parents with children at schools, you´ll notice i have added the link to NCCA thanks to your last comment. I cannot view the antibully policy as I am fairly confident that it doesn´t exist and certain if it does we haven´t been consulted in its creation.
Shane, I have already tried these, you may not be aware but the Parents Association Constitution doesn´t allow them to represent Parents and the Parents on the Board are not allowed to represent Parents, an oxymoron. This is something I am fully aware of and a point which the Board and myself agreed on. That doesn´t mean I think it is right. I have a background in Community Development and have been involved with the writing childcare Policies for a Preschool group for which I was a founding member as well as an officer. In this role I endeavoured to carry out my duties in an open and transparent manner with compassion and understanding of the challenges facing Parents..
The 1998 Education Act assumes that Parents, Board and teachers work in consultation and cooperatively with each other.
I did break the rules of the PA and at the AGM which was attended by the Principal and I brought up my concerns, however, the AGM turned into fiasco as the Principal said that parents did have a voice in the school. Then a significant number of Parents got quite emotional as they disagreed with this statement. The Principal told one parent he disliked their tone when talking to him which although it made me laugh as it showed a real lack of understanding. The whole incident is more reminiscent of a scene from a movie than what one would expect to be happening in a rural backwater.
I feel guilty, that I should have to coerce or blackmail the school by embarassing them to do what right. In fact I am squandering their and my energy on incidentals. If you look at today´s Irish Times there is an article about what Gerry Murphy is saying he has major concerns about children going to school hungry. This is what we (the Board, School and myself) should be focused on but as they don´t do what the ought to, how more difficult is it to get them to do what they don´t need to do.
Lastly, yet again I really appreciate both of your comments, as its great to have a sound board and I would have concerns that I am too biased.

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
23/01/2013 21:07 - Education Cutbacks
Ted, it looks like you are judging the entire educational system based on one particular school. This is not entirely sensible in my book. It would also be interesting to get the view from the side in this case, as there are of course two sides to every story. Did you run for parents nominee on the Board of Management?

re... : Self assessment questionnaires - National Schools           reply
26/01/2013 09:35 - Education Cutbacks
Ted, congrats on your success in getting the Code of Behaviour updated, even though you had to endure a bit of slagging off yourself in the process.
Yes, I understand the limitations around the role of the Parents Association, and the non-representative role of Parents nominees on the BoM. It would be completely impossible for parents nominees to take on a representative role. For every Ted who has strong views on any issue, there will be others who have opposing views. How is the parents nominee supposed to reconcile these views? They have to take their own view on the matter. That doesn´t mean that they can´t consult with or speak to parents, and it doesn´t mean that parents cannot speak to the BoM members. But parents can´t expect to ´control´ the BoM members - who have to exercise their best judgement.
When I mentioned the Parents Association, I was actually thinking about influencing some of the PA members, rather than getting the PA to act as a body. If you can manage to influence maybe three or four of the leading PA members, you will find that your message will start to become more acceptable and mainstream for the school.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

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