Parents’ Council

Meeting Report

9 May 2022

Attendance: Eleanor Harpur, Louise Evans, Iris Johnston, Lisa McCauley, Evelyn Danaher, John Mc Ginnity, Liam Gaynor, Lorenia Gil and Aiden Buckley.

Apologies were received from Nyki Carty and Trish Delaney.

April minutes approved.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Gaynor presented an updated financial report to those present.

Correspondence

None to discuss.

Book Rental Scheme

The possibility of the school operating a book rental scheme was discussed at previous meetings. This will be explored fully during the 2022/23 school year.

Arrangements for State Exams

As has been the case for many years, the Parents’ Council will provide refreshments to all students on the first day of the examinations. The practical arrangements were agreed between members present.

Plans for the promotion of the Parents’ Council

Those present discussed a number of ways to increase parental participation in the group. Many felt that the group needed further promotion via social media – e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. A greater connection between Parents’ Councils in neighbouring schools could also be explored. In August, the group will begin to put some of these ideas in place.

AOB

As this was the last meeting of the year, Ms. Harpur paid tribute to a number of members who will be stepping down from the Council. She thanked Ms. Johnston, Ms. Gil, Ms. Evans, Ms. Buckley and Mr. Gaynor for their contribution and dedication to the school community over a number of years. Mr. Mc Ginnity echoed these sentiments.

The Council paid tribute to Mr. O’ Shea following his decision to retire as school principal this summer. Members noted that he will be greatly missed and that his departure will represent a big change for Loreto, Wexford.


Meeting Report

6 April 2022

Attendance: Eleanor Harpur, Louise Evans, Iris Johnston, Lisa McCauley, Nyki Carty, John Mc Ginnity, Liam Gaynor, Lorenia Gil and Aiden Buckley

Apologies were received from Evelyn Danaher, Edel Cullen and Trish Delaney

March minutes approved.

Treasurer’s Report

Following the recent non-uniform day, Mr Gaynor presented an updated financial report to those present.

Correspondence

None to discuss.

School Planning Group – Update

Ms. Harpur provided an update on the recent work of the group. Specifically, she mentioned recent discussions around a Healthy Living policy and the procedures around the appointment of the Head Girls each year.

Upcoming Events

The arrangements for the provision of snacks and water to the 6th and 3rd year students on the first day of the state exams were discussed.

Planning for 2022/23

With a number of members due to step down before the start of the next academic year, a discussion around how best to promote the Parents’ Council was initiated. Despite the size of the school population, Mr. Mc Ginnity noted that it was difficult to get parents more deeply involved in the life of the school. The pandemic has made this even more challenging. A number of suggestions were put forward to promote the group.

  • A letter to families at the start of the new school year, highlighting the role of the Parents’ Council.
  • A parent survey, distributed to gauge level of interest in the Parents’ Council.
  • Greater promotion of the group within the school.
  • The possibility of more direct communication to parents – e.g. sending the agenda to all parents.
  • Organising more speakers/social events to encourage attendance and participation.

The above points will be considered further at the next meeting.

AOB

Mr. Mc Ginnity provided an update on the implementation of the new mobile phone/device policy.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the group will take place on Monday, 9 May at 18.30.


Meeting Report

7 March 2022

Attendance: Eleanor Harpur, Louise Evans, Iris Johnston, Edel Cullen, Lisa McCauley, Nyki Carty, John Mc Ginnity and Mary Ann O’ Rourke

Apologies were received from Evelyn Danaher, Liam Gaynor, Lorenia Gil and Aiden Buckley.

February minutes approved.

Treasurer’s Report

As Mr. Gaynor was absent, this item was deferred until the next meeting.

Correspondence

Correspondence, read to those present, was received from Mr. O’ Shea. This document informed the Parents’ Council that the annual review of the Student Safeguarding Statement had been completed by the Board of Management at its most recent meeting.

Non – Uniform Day

Arrangements for the Non-Uniform day, to be held on 16 March 2022, were discussed. Mr. Mc Ginnity will help co-ordinate some of the practical arrangements in advance.

Structure of the School Day

Ms. Johnston summarised the working of the School Planning Group. At present, this group is examining the length of the school day. She explained the various aspects of the discussion – e.g. staggered breaks, the potential return to a one hour lunch break, as had been the case prior to the pandemic. Members present expressed the view that the forty minutes lunch break was working well and that it should be maintained.

PE Uniform

As part of Covid – 19 preventative measures, students have been allowed to wear their PE uniform to school on the day that they have timetabled PE class. Ms. Harpur enquired if this arrangement was to remain. However, Mr. Mc Ginnity outlined the plan to revert to the procedures that were in place beforehand – i.e. change to PE uniform at the start of PE class. He remarked that many students had taken advantage of this dispensation and that the school was making an effort to implement the uniform regulations as they were prior to March 2020. Ms. O’ Reilly and Mr. Mc Ginnity will visit classes this week to speak about this change.

AOB

There was some discussion around mask wearing in the school with Mr. Mc Ginnity noting that a relatively small percentage continue to wear face coverings. With the most recent change to restrictions, mask wearing is now optional and a matter of personal choice.

Ms. Johnston spoke about the feasibility of running the second-hand book/uniform sale. Due to Covid -19, this event has not happened in recent years. This will be discussed further in April.

Next Meeting

The need for a meeting in April was discussed. As a result, the next meeting of the group will take place on Monday, 4 April at 18.30.


Meeting Report

7 February 2022

Attendance: Eleanor Harpur, Louise Evans, Iris Johnston, Edel Cullen, Liam Gaynor, Lisa McCauley, Evelyn Danaher, Nyki Carty, Aideen Buckley, John Mc Ginnity, Lorenia Gil and Mary Ann O’ Rourke

January minutes approved.

Matters Arising

Matters arising will be addressed through the agenda.

Correspondence

None to discuss.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Gaynor updated those present.

Non-Uniform Day

This will proceed on Wednesday, 16 March. Students will prepare posters in advance and Mr. Mc Ginnity will link in with the Students’ Council around some of the practical matters.

Book Rental Scheme

A further discussion on the operation of book rental schemes in other schools took place. This gave an overall impression of how such a scheme can work. Mr. Mc Ginnity has contacted a neighbouring school with a view to discussing the details in more depth.

School Planning Group

Ms. Harpur and Ms. Johnston updated colleagues on the work of the group. They highlighted two current issues –

  1. Mobile Phone Policy: Proposed changes to the mobile phone policy were discussed at length. Various suggestions were put forward and they will be communicated back to the school. The Board of Management will have the final sign-off on the policy. All those present welcomed the proposed changes with many feeling a ‘zero tolerance’ approach should be in place.
  2. Length of School Day: The current structure of the school day may need to be reviewed if the easing of Covid – 19 restrictions allow. At present, the lunchbreak is 40 minutes in duration and the staggered breaks remain in place. Parents expressed a preference for the 40 minutes lunchbreak as opposed to the previous model of 55 or 60 minutes.

State Exams 2022

Mr. Mc Ginnity referenced the recent decision to proceed with the traditional examinations for 3rd and 6th years. He reported that students seemed content enough with this decision, happy that clarity had been provided by the Department of Education and Skills at a relatively early stage.

Parent Teacher Meetings – Feedback

The final meeting of the year will also take place online. In general, feedback on previous meetings was quite positive with many feeling that the online format was practical and easy to manage.

AOB

The prospect of changes to the Covid – 19 protocols after the mid-term was discussed. Mr. Mc Ginnity confirmed that those who wanted to continue wearing masks would be welcome to do so.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the group will take place on Monday, 7 March 2022 at 18.30 in the school.


Meeting Report

10 January 2022

Attendance: Eleanor Harpur, Louise Evans, Iris Johnston, Lisa McCauley, Evelyn Danaher, Nyki Carty, Aideen Buckley, John Mc Ginnity, Patricia Delaney, Lorenia Gil and Mary Ann O’ Rourke

In light of the current Covid – 19 situation nationally, this meetings was held via MS Teams.

December minutes approved.

Matters Arising

Matters arising will be addressed through the agenda.

Correspondence

Mr. Mc Ginnity referred to an e-mail for members of the Parents’ Council, sent by Ms. Lorrianne Kelly (Guidance Counsellor). The message refereed to upcoming courses for parents around the area of mental health in adolescents. He agreed to forward the message after the meeting.

Treasurer’s Report

Deferred until the next meeting.

Non – Uniform Day

The school is happy to support a Non – Uniform Day, organised by the Parents’ Council. A provisional date of 16 March was suggested.

Book Rental Scheme

Mr. Mc Ginnity provided an update on this matter, originally brought up at the December meeting. He will continue to look at it further by talking to other schools with such a scheme.

School Planning Group

The group will meet again on Thursday, 13 January. Mr. Mc Ginnity updated those present on the recent work of the group in relation to Leaving Certificate Applied and the 1st year curriculum for 2022/23.

Covid – 19 Update

Mr. Mc Ginnity spoke about the return to school after the Christmas break. He confirmed that all of existing mitigation measures were in place and that students were reminded of the key points upon the resumption of classes. A letter to families was also issued on 5 January.

Matters Arising

The impact of Covid – 19 mitigation measures, particularly the requirement for extra ventilation, was discussed. In this regard, students have been encouraged to wear extra layers of clothing and their Loreto coats if necessary.


Meeting Report

13 December 2021

Attendance: Eleanor Harpur, Louise Evans, Liam Gaynor, Iris Johnston, Lisa McCauley, Evelyn Danaher, Nyki Carty, Aideen Buckley, John Mc Ginnity and Mary Ann O’ Rourke

Apologies were received from Lorenia Gil and Patricia Delaney

November minutes approved.

Correspondence

None to discuss.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Gaynor reported on recent expenditure in relation to the school musical.

Parent Teacher Meetings

Mr. Mc Ginnity sought feedback on the recent meetings, held online. Feedback from those present was positive and suggestions for future meetings were put forward.

Book Rental Scheme

The possibility of the school establishing book rental scheme was discussed. M.s Carty and Ms. Evans spoke about the successful operation of such schemes in neighbouring schools. The high cost of books was highlighted, particularly for those starting in first year. Mr. Mc Ginnity will investigate this scheme further.

Events for 2022

With ongoing uncertainty around Covid – 19 restrictions, it is difficult to plan anything at this time. The suggestion of a non-uniform day was put forward. The income from this would support the Council in contributing to school events.

AOB

An update of the work of the School Planning Group (SPG) was provided. A number of staff members have considered the issues around the 1st year curriculum and a proposal is now ready for staff. The next meeting of the SPG will take place on Thursday, 6 January 2022 at 15.10.

The next meeting of the Council will take place on Monday, 10 January 2022 at 18.30 in the school.


Meeting Report

1 November 2021

Attendance: Eleanor Harpur, Louise Evans, Liam Gaynor, Edel Cullen, Iris Johnston, Lisa McCauley, Evelyn Danaher and Nyki Carthy.

Apologies were received from John McGinnity and Aideen Buckley.

October minutes approved.

Correspondence

Correspondence was received from the National Parents’ Council.

Election of Secretary for 2021/22

Ms Louise Evans was elected as Secretary for the rest of the school year.

Anti-Bullying Policy – review

The meeting was informed that the BOM had carried out a review of its anti-bullying policy, in line with DES requirements.

School Planning Group – Curriculum Review

An update on the work of the School Planning Group was provided. A group of teachers will shortly commence a review of the junior cycle curriculum, looking particularly at first year. The SPG will be reconvened to consider the findings.

AOB

The 6th Year Parent – Teacher meeting will take place in the school on Wednesday, 1o November. All Covid – 19 preventative measures will be in place.

The Council was informed that the school has purchased a Studyclix subscription for all 6th year students.

Suggestions around possible fundraising activities were discussed.

A query around the location of second hand uniforms, donated at a previous second hand sale was brought forward. Mr. Mc Ginnity will consider this.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Council will take place on Monday, 13 December 2021 at 18.30 in the school.


Meeting Report

11 October 2021

Attendance: Evelyn Danaher, Iris Johnston, Lisa Mc Auley, Eleanor Harpur (Chairperson), John Mc Ginnity, Louise Evans, Edel Cullen, Aideen Buckley and Nyki Carty

Apologies were received from Liam Gaynor and Trish Delaney.

September minutes approved.

Correspondence

Mr. Mc Ginnity passed some correspondence from the National Parents’ Council to Ms. Evans, Secretary.

Election of Secretary for 2021/22

This item has been deferred to the next meeting.

School Planning Group – Update

Ms. Harpur, Ms. Johnston and Mr. Mc Ginnity updated the group on the recent work of the school planning group in relation to Leaving Certificate Applied. The proposal will now be brought to the Board of Management by Mr. O’ Shea.

Activities

With the ongoing uncertainty around Covid 19 restrictions, those present felt that most activities should be planned for after Christmas. The Council were also mindful of the fact that the school musical, Calamity Jane, will take place in December and that other activities connected to this event will be taking place after midterm.

Novels at Leaving Certificate level

Ms. Cullen initiated a general discussion on the content of some of the novels studied in 5th and 6th year. Mr. Mc Ginnity explained that the texts are carefully selected from the list of prescribed material, as is required by the Department of Education and Skills (DES). Although some of the texts broach difficult and challenging material, the way in which the content was approached by the individual teacher was considered to be of the utmost importance.

AOB

Ms. Johnston enquired as to the status of Parent – Teacher meetings. Mr. Mc Ginnity confirmed that the school would be holding the meetings but that the format was uncertain. It was considered preferable to have an in-person meeting, subject to public health guidelines. However, an online option was being explored. Further guidance is awaited from DES officials. Meetings originally scheduled for the week beginning Monday, 18 October have been deferred.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Council will take place on Monday, 1 November 2021 at 18.30 in the school.


A.G.M. Meeting Report

20 September 2021

The Annual General Meeting of the Loreto Parents’ Council took place in the Sports Hall on Monday, 20 September 2021.

Chairperson’s Report

Ms. Aideen Buckley welcomed those present, particularly those who had not previously been involved with the Parents’ Council. She spoke about the role of the Parents’ Council, the content of their monthly meetings and some of the activities the group would normally be involved with – e.g. school based activities, school planning and development. She thanked all established members of the Council and invited new members to join our next meeting.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Liam Gaynor presented a full report outlining income and expenditure for the previous academic year. With public health guidelines restricting the activities of the Council, he spoke about the importance of raising some income this year so that the Council can contribute to school activities.

Deputy Principal’s Report

Mr. Mc Ginnity presented a brief report to those present. He mentioned how pleasant it was to have an in-person event, the first such event since before March 2020. He thanked the members of the Council for their commitment over the past year. He commented on the challenges the school faced due to Covid – 19, highlighting the resilience of the whole school community in the context of such a demanding year. In his report, he mentioned the following points:

  • Curriculum developments at senior cycle – i.e. the introduction of P.E., Politics and Society, DCG and Agricultural Science as exam subjects.
  • The importance of the Parents’ Council in playing an active part in the school community.
  • The resumption of many extra-curricular activities, subject to public health guidance.
  • The work of the School Planning Group.

He concluded by extending an invitation to all those present, particularly new faces, to the next meeting of the Council on 11 October.

Election of Officers

The following parents were elected to the Council for the school year 2021/22:

Chairperson: Ms. Eleanor Harpur

Vice-Chairperson: Ms. Nyki Carty

Treasurer: Mr. Liam Gaynor

Secretary: Role to be filled at the next meeting.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will take place on Monday, 11 October at 18.30.


Meeting Report

6 September 2021

Attendance: Evelyn Danaher, Iris Johnston, Lisa Mc Auley, Eleanor Harpur, John Mc Ginnity, Liam Gaynor, Louise Evans, Edel Cullen, Aideen Buckley (Chairperson), Lorenia Gil and Nyki Carty

This meeting took place remotely, via Microsoft Teams.

May minutes approved.

Correspondence

None to discuss.

Financial Report

Mr. Gaynor updated those present on the current financial situation. He outlined the expenditure in relation to the LC exams.

Deputy Principal’s Report

Mr. Mc Ginnity delivered a brief report in relation to the return to school. He mentioned the Introduction Meetings and the Covid – 19 Response Plan. He noted that all procedures in relation to Covid – 19 were the same as when school finished in May. He anticipated a gradual easing of restrictions over the coming months, starting with a return to school based sports activities. As restrictions ease across the country, further guidance for secondary schools is expected later in the autumn.

School Planning Group (SPG)

Mr.Mc Ginnity invited those present to the weekly meeting of the School Planning Group. This year, the group will meet in the Sports Hall between 15.10 and 15.40 each Thursday. The SPG examine various aspects of school life, including policies and procedures. The input of all parties (staff, students and parents) is essential to its work. He thanked those who had attended in the past.

Board of Management (BOM) Vacancy

The Council acknowledged the contribution of Ms. Annette Cahalane to both the Parents’ Council and the BOM. Following her departure from the BOM, a vacancy for a parent nominee was created. With the agreement of those present, Ms. Iris Johnston was nominated to the position. A new BOM will be established in October 2022.

Forthcoming Events – A.G.M.

The Annual General Meeting of the Parents’ Council will take place on Monday, 20 September at 18.30. The Council expressed the hope that an in-person meeting could take place, with numbers capped to ensure social distancing. Mr. Mc Ginnity undertook to clarify the position and revert back to members. Following clarification, it was decided that the meeting could take place in the Sports Hall, with pre-registration and a maximum number of 30 permitted.

AOB

Ms. Cullen expressed concern about some of the prescribed texts on the English syllabus. A discussion on the content of a linked website followed.

Next Meeting

The A.G.M. will take place on Monday, 20 September 2021. The subsequent meeting of the Council is scheduled for Monday, 11 October at 18.30. This meeting will be held on Teams, with a view to moving back to in-person meetings from November.